Another journalist killed in Haiti as violence continues

Press association says Fritz Dorilas is eighth journalist killed so far this year in Haiti amid rise in violent attacks.

Haiti protests
Haitian National Police fire tear gas at protesters in October, as the country struggles with gang violence and political instability [File: Ricardo Arduengo/Reuters]

An eighth journalist has been killed in Haiti so far this year, the Inter American Press Association (IAPA) reported, as the Caribbean nation grapples with surging gang violence and targeted attacks against members of the media.

The association said on Wednesday that Fritz Dorilas, who worked with Radio Tele Megastar, was shot dead near his home in Tabarre, northeast of the capital Port-au-Prince, on November 5.

“We continue to deplore crimes against journalists this bloody year in our region,” IAPA official Carlos Jornet said in a statement.

“The lack of justice gives even more incentive to the violent individuals.”

Violence continues to surge across the capital, where increasingly powerful criminal gangs have been battling for control in the political vacuum created by last year’s assassination of President Jovenel Moise.

Haiti is suffering from a continuing security and humanitarian crisis as a weeks-long blockade on a key petrol terminal has led to electricity and water shortages, and exacerbated already-high rates of hunger.

Dorilas’s killing came less than a week after a Haitian journalist with Radio Tele Zenith, Romelson Vilsaint, died during a protest in Port-au-Prince.

Vilsaint died on October 30 when a tear gas canister hit him in the head during an incident in which witnesses said police threw tear gas and opened fire on a group of journalists demanding the release of a colleague.

UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay last week called for an investigation into Vilsaint’s death and for those responsible to be held accountable. “Journalists must be free to attend and report on events of public interest without fearing for their safety,” she said in a statement.

The neighbourhood where Dorilas lived has seen an uptick in fighting between gangs.

“According to local media, armed individuals shot Dorilas near his home during gang clashes. Other information indicated that the journalist was forcibly taken from his home in Carradeux and executed while the shooting occurred,” IAPA said.

The statement also noted that police have not yet confirmed exactly what happened

Previous calls for accountability for the killing of Haitian journalists have largely gone unanswered.

Two journalists were killed in September while reporting on violence in the impoverished Port-au-Prince neighbourhood of Cite-Soleil.

Late last month, Roberson Alphonse, a well-known Haitian reporter for Le Nouvelliste newspaper, also survived an assassination attempt.

The Haitian government and the UN have called for international security assistance to help quell the violence. But Haiti’s fraught history of international interventions has left many sceptical of such missions, prompting protests.

Meanwhile, in recent weeks, the United States and Canada have imposed sanctions on politicians accused of being connected to Haitian gangs, as well as prominent gang leaders, such as Jimmy “Barbecue” Cherizier.

The United Nations also has implored countries receiving Haitian refugees and asylum seekers not to deport them back to Haiti due to the continuing crises.

Source: Al Jazeera, The Associated Press