What the earthquake has done is destroy the physical infrastructure that will limit the reach of the media, particularly radio, which is the primary source for Haitians to get their news and information.
The day of the earthquake, miraculously, one radio station, Signal FM, remained on the air, after not suffering any damages to its buildings and antennas in the mountains of Boutilliers. The station did a commendable job by keeping people informed. Elected officials, business owners, and regular people used their airwaves to communicate. The station remained open around the clock and did its best to keep the population informed. It wasn't until a few days later that other stations return to the airwaves. To this day, many still remain silent, hoping to resume broadcasting soon.
Before the earthquake, there was a vibrant radio scene here—it
seems as though every dial is taken on the FM band. Le Nouvelliste and Le Matin,
the daily newspapers, have not resumed during the earthquake and it is unclear
when the oldest daily in
I'm quite concerned about the future of the media in
I think the international community, which should understand
the role of a free press, must not leave
Right now, the government has a serious public relations problem, largely because President René Préval has not been seen in public enough. His comments have not connected with people; part of that reason is that he hasn't spoken enough. So his pronouncements are dissected in minutia. By using the media for its ability to inform the public, the government could solve its problem. But in its current shape, the media cannot continue to broadcast and print information. Resources are desperately needed and should be provided.
Garry Pierre-Pierre is
the editor and publisher of the Haitian Times, a Brooklyn, New York-based weekly. He has been reporting from