Port-au-Prince, HAITI, March 21 2013 [AlterPresse] – Two Haitian journalists were attacked by a man working for the humanitarian organization World Vision on Monday March 18 in the hamlet of Savanette, located about 160 kilometers west of the capital.
[World Vision response: below]
Evens Louis, a multimedia journalist with Accès-Médias, a section of Groupe Médialternatif, and Lafontaine Orvild, journalist and assistant coordinator of Haiti Grassroots Watch, were verbally attacked. The aggressor also hit one of the journalists.
The attack took place while the team was filming one of World Vision’s food distribution activities in Savanette.
“I was shoved and hit in the face by this person, who was wearing a World Vision vest,” Orvild said, noting that after the assault, the aggressor got into a World Vision vehicle.
The man had also tried to damage and confiscate the journalists’ equipment. Orvild and Louis were in Savanette to work on a Haiti Grassroots Watch investigation that also involves several community or rural radio stations and the AlterPresse online news agency, which is also part of Groupe Médialternatif.
“It is terrible to see freedom of the press menaced like this,” Orvild deplored.
Teacher Mimose Sanon witnessed the entire incident, telling AlterPresse that when the man shoved the journalists and hit one of them, he tried to intimidate them by telling them “to stop filming because supposedly the institution for which he worked would not allow it.”
The food distribution activity was being carried out on an open plot of land next to a river. Witnesses said the incident might have deteriorated if those present had not intervened.
Groupe Médialternatif strongly condemns the attack and considers it an attack on the freedom of the press and the freedom of information. Groupe Médialternatif will undertake the steps necessary to denounce the act, as well as discuss it with national and international World Vision authorities who should know that the activities of any and all organizations which are of concern to the people in any and all regions should never be considered private operations. [mm gp apr 21/03/2013 11:50]
Original article - http://www.alterpresse.org/spip.php?article14297
Statement by Jean Claude Mukadi
Haiti National Director, World Vision
March 22, 2013
World Vision deplores the incident March 18th involving reporters of the Ayiti Kale Je platform - of which AlterPresse is a member - that occurred at one of our food distribution sites, in Calumette, a locality in the commune of Savanette.
Our organization has launched an investigation into the matter and, if it is determined that any of our employees acted wrongfully or in an unprofessional manner, appropriate disciplinary actions will be taken. The press will be informed of the outcome of this investigation upon its completion.
In addition, if AlterPresse determines it also will conduct its own investigation, World Vision will cooperate fully.
World Vision reaffirms its commitment to open and trustworthy relationships with representatives of the news media, whether in Haiti or any of the other nearly 100 nations in which we serve vulnerable people. In Haiti, we appreciate the excellent collaboration our staff have with journalists, on whom we rely to inform members of the public about our programs. Recently, World Vision hosted a field trip in the northern region of the country, enabling a group of journalists from Port-au-Prince to see the impact of our operations in some of the remotest areas of the country.
Our organization has been working in Haiti since 1959 and we remain dedicated to working with the people of the country, government agencies and other humanitarian organizations to help provide sustainable solutions for the future of children, families, and communities.
Contact: Jean Wickens, (+) 509-34540454; Jean-Wickens_ Merone@wvi.org