Originally: Radio station’s closing ‘jeopardizes’ every independent journalist in Haiti

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti – The closing of a radio station in Haiti more than a week ago because of more threats has “jeopardized” every independent journalist in Haiti, a human rights group said Sunday.


Radio Haiti-Inter shut down its operations Feb. 22. Human rights groups are urging the government to bring to justice those responsible for a Dec. 25 attack on the home of station journalist Michele Montas in which a bodyguard was shot and killed. New threats have come in since then.


The station “has been the beacon of press freedom in Haiti for many years and its closing because of threats to its staff means every independent journalist in Haiti is in jeopardy,” said attorney Renan Hedouville, director of the Lawyers Committee for Individual Liberties.


Rights groups have also urged action in bringing to justice the killers of Montas’ husband, journalist Jean Dominique, who was shot and killed at the station in 2000.


Dominique, Haiti’s most prominent journalist, once supported President Jean-Bertrand Aristide’s party and was killed as he began to openly criticize the party.


“The government has not assumed its responsibility to protect Radio Haiti Inter,” Hedouville said.


Media freedom groups have faulted the government for failing to bring Dominique’s killers to justice. They have accused the government of tolerating attacks on journalists ? charges the government denies.


Aristide’s office said he has visited Montas to assure her the government is committed to advancing the investigation into Dominique’s killing. Montas said she believes the two gunmen who attacked her home were trying to kill her because of her demands for justice in her husband’s killing.


Montas said the attack was linked to an anticipated indictment of her husband’s killers. An investigating judge had promised an indictment by the end of this month. Montas has criticized the investigation’s slowness.