Haiti’s only Creole newspaper is out of business

Haiti’s sole newspaper published exclusively in Creole has disappeared under the rubble of the January 12 earthquake. The Port-au-Prince offices of the monthly Bon Nouvel (Good News) were destroyed, as were the facilities of its La Phalange printing unit, which specialized in the production of Creole-language books and documents. 

“This is a real blow not only to the promotion of the Creole language, but also to the literacy project in Haiti,” said the Rev. Jean Pierre Nzemba Wayi, Bon Nouvel’s director. He noted that Bon Nouvel was popular among farmers who cannot read or write French, and was considered an important reference for the Catholic community.

Founded in 1967 by the Rev. Joris Ceupens, a Belgian-born priest, Bon Nouvel began publishing under the repressive regime of François “Papa Doc” Duvalier. Over the years, the monthly often opened its pages to prominent guest columnists such as former President Jean Bertrand Aristide and poet Dominique Batraville.

Wayi said the newspaper’s staff members suffered no major injuries, but its archives were destroyed. The paper’s last issue, 10,000 copies of which were printed, appeared in early January 2010, just days before the earthquake.

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