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  • Writer's pictureGuyler C Delva

Haiti’s Media Workers Vow To Launch Anti-Kidnapping Campaign

By Joseph Guyler C. Delva

Wednesday, July 19, 2023

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (HCNN)- Journalists and other media professionals in Haiti vow to actively support an anti-kidnapping campaign, shortly after dozens of journalists took to the streets over the weekend to demand the release of kidnapped media co-owner, in the crisis-torn Caribbean country.

Pierre Louis Opont, co-owner of haitian television station, Tele Pluriel, was kidnapped on July 20, and has been kept hostage since then, despite numerous calls for his release.

Haitian journalists and media owners plan to soon launch an active campaign against kidnapping and widespread unpunished criminality, plaguing the country.

"Yes, at Radio and TV Kiskeya, we're ready to actively participate in such a campaign; the current security situation is unbearable and should change," said Marvel Dandin, a respected veteran journalist and director general of Radio Tele Kiskeya.

Marvel -who is also a prominent figure of the National Association of Haitian Media, known by its french acronym ANMH - has called on authorities to take all necessary measures to quell the scourge.

"It is the responsibility of those in power to act against such evil deeds, but there is a deep public's distrust of politicians here," Dandin told the Haitian-Caribbean News Network.

A human rights activist, Pierre Esperance, has called on government authorities to be tougher on crimes, such as kidnapping.

"Tough sanctions should be taken against police officers acting in complicity with bandits," Esperance told HCNN. "There's no possibility for gangsters to be acting so arrogantly if they were not acting in league with a number of police officers and other government officials," he said.

"There should be zero tolerance for bandits and for police officers conniving with them; holding somebody hostage, is a terrorist act," stated Esperance, denouncing that the population has been left to their fate. "This should not be allowed to continue."

Journalists and media owners marched on Sunday in Haiti's capital to demand that Tele Pluriel's co-owner and former State TV journalist, Pierre Louis Opont, be freed by his abductors. Opont was also a former president of the haitian electoral council.

Opont's wife, Marie Lucie (Bonhomme Opont), is also one of the most famous and respected journalists in Haiti. She was in the streets Sunday protesting alongside dozens of other journalists.

The Association of Haitian Journalists (french a cronym, AJH), SOS Journalistes, the Association of Haitian Independent Media (known as AMIH) and ANMH, have raised their voices in protest against kidnapping and have promised to bring their contribution to efforts aimed at combating the plague through an active media campaign.

Hundreds of cases of kidnapping have been reported over the past recent years, including 40 since May 1, this year, according to Pierre Esperance, from the National Network to Defend Human Rights (known as RNDDH).

By Joseph Guyler C. Delva


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