UN denounces killing of Haitian journalist Alix Joseph

Saturday, May 19, 2007

MINUSTAH deployment in Haiti as of December 2006.

The UN mission in Haiti on Friday denounced the murder of popular radio host Alix Joseph and vowed to assist Haitian authorities in the investigation. Joseph, who was also the director of Radio Provinciale in Gonaïves, was gunned down by unknown assailants on May 16, 2007.

In a press release, the UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) expressed outrage at what it described as a pattern of violence against Haitian journalists. “This cruel and irresponsible act adds to the long list of crimes already committed against professionals of the Haitian press,” MINUSTAH said.

Joseph was shot 11 times by two gunmen while sitting in his car outside his fiancée's home. His fiancée was not injured in the attack according to Frantz Justin Altidor, a journalist with Radio Provinciale. A motive for the crime has not been revealed by police, nor have suspects been identified.

According to Altidor, however, Radio Provinciale had received threatening calls from people upset at the station's stand on the disarmament of local gangs. Altidor said he was unaware if Joseph had received death threats personally.

Gang violence in Gonaïves has been on the rise in the past few months, said the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ). The CPJ also highlighted the January, 2007 murder of Jean-Rémy Badio, a Haitian photographer shot to death in Port-au-Prince. Prior to the attack, Badio had received death threats from members of a local gang.

Although there had been several attacks on Haitian journalists in the past few years, the CPJ indicated that the frequency of assaults had dropped since the election of current president René Préval in 2006.

The UN mission in Haiti expressed its support of Haitian media personnel who "continue to seek the end of the impunity for the killers of their murdered colleagues."