Prominent Haitian journalist threatened

New York, October 31, 2007—Haitian authorities must fully investigate multiple death threats made against prominent journalist and press freedom advocate Joseph Guyler Delva, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.

“We call on Haitian authorities to conduct a speedy and thorough investigation into the threats against Joseph Guyler Delva and to bring all those responsible to justice,” said CPJ’s Executive Director Joel Simon. “Authorities should also provide Delva with the necessary protection to allow him to continue to work safely.”

Delva told CPJ that he received two calls to his cell phone last Thursday that were placed from blocked numbers. The anonymous callers warned the journalist that he should be careful, that they knew where he was, and that they were going to “get him.” Delva said he received similar calls over the next several days. The journalist said he notified local authorities.

Delva hosts a morning news show on the Port-au-Prince-based Radio Mélodie FM. He is also the Port-au-Prince correspondent for the BBC, Reuters, the Caribbean Media Corporation, and the New York-based Haitian Times. He is president of the local press freedom group S.O.S. Journalistes and head of a recently created independent committee of Haitian journalists that reviews the progress of official investigations into the unsolved murders of journalists in Haiti.

Among the cases now being reviewed by the independent committee is the unsolved slaying of Jean-Léopold Dominique, owner and director of Radio Haïti-Inter. Dominique, one of the country’s most renowned journalists, was gunned down on April 3, 2000, outside the entrance to his Port-au-Prince station. The long-stalled investigation has been characterized by incompetence and a lack of political will, CPJ research shows.