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24550: Arthur (pub) IPI says Haiti most troubling country in Caribbean

Text of report by Caribbean Media Corporation (CMC) news agency on 22 March

Port of Spain, Trinidad: The International Press Institute (IPI) has
described 2004 as a bad year for press freedom in the Caribbean.

In its just-released World Press Freedom Review, IPI said that during that
year, two journalists were killed as a direct result of their work and there
were numerous reported instances of others being wounded.
The International Press Institute said by far the most troubling country in
terms of media freedom during the year was Haiti, where journalists and radio
stations were frequently attacked during the drawn-out political conflict that
culminated in the collapse of the [Jean-Bertrand] Aristide government at the
end of February.

"Unfortunately, the appointment of a new interim administration, and the
arrival of international military forces mandated to re-establish a stable and
secure environment, did not mean an end to abuses of media freedom."

It said the former armed soldiers who remained in control of most of the
country outside the capital threatened and detained journalists, and towards the
end of the year, the interim government itself began to show a worrying
intolerance of the broadcasting of alternative points of view.

IPI said the responsibility for the murder of Ricardo Ortega, correspondent
for the Spanish television station, Antena 3, who was shot dead while covering
a demonstration in the Haitian capital, Port-au-Prince, on 7 March, has yet to
be established.

It said the lack of international interest in the subsequent Antena 3
investigation that concluded that Ortega might have been killed by a US soldier, and
not, as widely assumed, by pro-Aristide gunmen, is deeply disturbing.