New York, August 16, 2023—Haitian authorities must investigate the recent shooting of radio commentator Brown Larose and take steps to ensure that journalists can work freely in the country, the Committee to Protect Journalists said Wednesday.
At about 6:30 p.m. on August 11, an unidentified man wearing a police uniform shot Larose six times outside his home in the Delmas neighborhood of Port-au-Prince, the capital, according to news reports and two of Larose’s colleagues, who spoke with CPJ.
Larose, who hosts the weekly radio program “Pawòl Geto” (Ghetto Talk) on the local broadcaster Radio Tele Éclair, was in stable condition as of Tuesday evening, Radio Tele Éclair host Louko Desir told CPJ.
Radio Tele Éclair often criticizes the government’s handling of the ongoing security crisis in Haiti, and has reported on recent anti-government protests, Desir told CPJ.
CPJ could not immediately determine whether police had opened an investigation into the attack. CPJ called police spokesman Gary Desrosiers for comment but no one answered.
“The continuing violence in Haiti is stifling reporters’ abilities to work freely and is making it impossible for Haitians to safely go about their lives,” said CPJ Latin America and the Caribbean Program Coordinator Cristina Zahar, in São Paulo. “Authorities must thoroughly investigate the recent shooting of radio commentator Brown Larose take steps to ensure that anyone who attacks a journalist is held to account.”
Larose, who is also a musician and community activist, and has hosted Ghetto Talk for five years, Desir said.
Esaue Cesar, another Radio Tele Éclair host, said that the station’s hosts had received numerous threats in the past. “Every day, phone threats,” he said, saying the messages were related to the outlet’s reporting on gangs in Haiti.
Desir said he had received personal threats on his phone, mostly related to the broadcaster’s criticism of the government, saying, “they tell us to watch out and be careful what we say otherwise something bad could happen.”
“We are just telling the truth,” said Desir. “When your show is called ‘Ghetto Talk’ it’s hard to avoid talking about the insecurity and the gangs.”
The National Human Rights Defense Network nongovernmental organization recently expressed concern over the inaction of state authorities in responding to the security crisis in Haiti, which has seen scores of people killed and kidnapped. CPJ has documented a recent increase in journalists who have been attacked and abducted in the country.
“They don’t do anything,” Desir said of the police.