Working in an atmosphere of great confusion and grief, our sources in Haiti are compiling preliminary lists of media casualties, documenting damages to news facilities, and examining the challenges ahead. SOS Journalistes, a press advocacy group led by the prominent Haitian journalist Guyler Delva, reports that at least 11 journalists died in the January 12 earthquake outside Port-au-Prince. CPJ continues to investigate their identities and the circumstances in which they died.
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Delva told CPJ that the three-story building that housed SOS Journalistes has collapsed, and all of its equipment has been destroyed. He said the premises of Radio and Tele Ginen, TV Channel 11, Radio Magik 9, Energie FM, and Radio Vasco were also severely damaged.
The World Association of Community Radio Broadcasters reports that at least 12 community radio stations in Port-au-Prince, Jacmel, and Petit Goave were extensively damaged and their operations interrupted. The two Port-au-Prince-based dailies, Le Matin and Le Novuelliste, are still not circulating, according to news accounts and CPJ interviews.
“The small society of Haitian journalists has been dealt a tough blow from the earthquake,” wrote Trenton Daniel in Monday’s Miami Herald. He noted that it comes at time when the “independent press had made significant strides … after reporters struggled to do their jobs under decades of despotic rule.”
The task is enormous, said Delva, who described it as “starting from zero.” He noted that local reporters must deal with their own personal challenges—grieving the loss of loved ones, taking care of injured relatives, rebuilding their homes, and addressing basic needs such as feeding their families. Delva has launched a campaign to help feed and shelter numerous displaced local journalists; he is also looking for help in rebuilding SOS Journalistes.
CPJ is working with local groups to identify needs and help direct assistance.
Editor’s Note: If you have any information on journalists and media outlets in Haiti please post a comment below or notify us via e-mail [email protected], or Twitter: @HelpJournalists. We are collecting funds that will go directly to Haitian journalists. If you’d like to make a contribution, please click this link and enter “Haiti” in the “Notes” section on the second page.