New York, July 16, 2002—Haitian broadcast journalist Israel Jacky Cantave has been missing since last night, and colleagues said that they fear he has been kidnapped in reprisal for his reporting.
Guyler C. Delva, head of the Haitian Journalists Association told the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) that Cantave, who covers a range of sensitive issues for Radio Caraïbes, left his radio station in Port-au-Prince with his cousin Frantz Ambroise after finishing the 10 p.m. newscast on Monday.
Cantave and Ambroise have not been heard from since around 11 p.m. last night when Cantave called his wife to tell her he was coming home. Because of repeated threats against him, Cantave had been spending the night in different locations.
Cantave’s car was found this morning in the Port-au-Prince suburb of Delmas. His cell phone and keys were still in the vehicle.
Delva told CPJ that earlier yesterday, Cantave had received the latest in a string of threats: a phone call in which he was told that in the near future his name would not be “Cantave” but “Cadavre” (or cadaver). But, said Delva, “He had been receiving so many [threats], he didn’t know when to take one more seriously than the other.”
In his July 15 newscast, Cantave reported on the investigation into the April 2000 killing of prominent journalist Jean Léopold Dominique, said Delva.
“We are extremely alarmed at Cantave’s apparent kidnapping,” said CPJ executive director Ann Cooper. “We urge Haitian authorities to do everything they possibly can to clarify the whereabouts of Cantave and his cousin and to bring them back safely.”
In a three-day fact-finding mission to Port-au-Prince last month, a CPJ delegation found that journalists in Haiti face a troubling atmosphere of intimidation and fear. Haitian journalists told CPJ of violent attacks and threats that largely remain unpunished. Some have felt obliged to censor themselves, go into hiding, or even leave the country.