Friday, May 4, 2012


(Haiti Libre) -

On May 3, 2012, the World Day of Press Freedom, was an opportunity for President Martelly to meet with the media to discuss, in a friendly atmosphere, the functioning of the press in Haiti and, to many international personalities to speak on freedom of the press in Haiti and around the world.

President Martelly: On the occasion of World Day of Press Freedom, President Michel Martelly, met Thursday at the National Palace, twenty owners and directors from the media to discuss, in a friendly atmosphere, the functioning of the press in Haiti. "As I have said many times, I know the importance and necessity of freedom of speech, and freedom of the press. Without that freedom of the press, I would not be President today."

The President of the Republic welcomed the fact that since his ascension to the helm, no infringement of journalists' rights has been - and will be - registered. "In my dealings with the press, there have been misunderstandings and misinterpretations. However, I guarantee you that I have deep respect for the Haitian Press, which is the foundation of the birth of democracy in our country. You know, everyone has his style, his way of doing things, his behavior. Mesye nou konnen ki moun mwen ye, declared the President Martelly, recalling that the Executive and the Press are required to deepen their learning.

The Head of State reiterated his commitment to promoting the open flow of ideas. In this regard, he stated that the free flow of communication in Haiti, requires a dual exercise by both the Executive and the media side. "We need you, your objective criticisms to advance in the national interest..."; also manifesting his desire to support and strengthen the 4th power.

"[...] I know that I must make every effort to facilitate access to information and ensure security, the independence of the profession of pen, microphone and camera. The taking of free speech, this beautiful conquest obtained from struggle and countless sacrifices, should not be perverted," said the Head of State. "It's only by demonstrating moderation and responsibility that the Haitian Press will continue to be at the height of its mission and will prove worthy of the achievements that have marked its history [...] I take this opportunity to encourage you in your role, which is not only to inform, but mainly to train, educate, motivate and raise awareness. The state relies on you all to build a new Haiti. That Haiti can not be built without your participation or your citizen involvement."

François Guillaume II:
The Consul General of Haiti in Miami, Francois Guillaume II, expressed his best wishes to the workers of the press and leaders of the media. He congratulated the Press "for its commitment in favor of society, and encourages at the same time to redouble their efforts to continue to show more professionalism in the performance of their fundamental role in the advancement of democracy, and the advancement of the community. The Consulate General of Haiti in Miami reiterates his determination to accompany the media, especially those serving the Haitian community in the United States, to promote inclusion and understanding among all sectors."

Mariano Fernández:
Mariano Fernández Amunátegui, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General of the UN in Haiti and Head of the UN Mission for Stabilization in Haiti (Minustah), praised the work of the Haitian press and the contribution of journalists throughout the history of the country, to defend the fundamental principles of freedom of expression enshrined in Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and Article 28 of the Constitution of Haiti of 1987. "On the occasion of World Day of Press, all our thoughts also go to relatives, friends, sisters and brothers of all Haitian journalists killed or murdered in the exercise of their profession," said Mr. Fernández, who hoped that one day justice will be done in memory of media representatives, who were victims in their quest for truth and justice. "Like many events in the world have demonstrated recently, media freedom, in all its forms, including social media, has more than ever the power to transform society."

Ban Ki-moon and Irina Bokova:
Ban Ki-moon, Secretary General of the United Nations, and Bokova the Director General of UNESCO, in a joint statement, stressed that "freedom of expression is one of our most precious rights [...] It underpins all other freedoms and is a cornerstone of human dignity. Free media, independent and pluralistic are essential to the exercise of this freedom," adding that media freedom includes freedom of opinion and the right to seek, receive and impart information regardless of frontiers, the information and ideas through any means of expression whatsoever, as stated in Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Abdou Diouf:
Abdou Diouf, Secretary General of the International Organization of La Francophonie (OIF) believes that the situation of press freedom has improved in some countries of the Francophone world. "If the legal safeguards and the effectiveness of freedom of the press have experienced positive developments in several of our member countries and if the regressive situations identified here and there tend to decrease; they however, remain a major concern for our organization," noting that "freedom of the press is not only individual freedom, but also an essential component of democratic life."

Catherine Ashton:
Ms. Catherine Ashton, on behalf of the European Union "welcomes the courageous work of journalists who, under conditions often extremely precarious, continue to provide independent information. She calls upon all States to guarantee the safety of journalists and allow them to play the essential role that is theirs, ie relate and comment on the events independently, without fear of violence or retaliation. Freedom of expression extends to the Internet and other media, and the EU is firmly opposed to any unjustified and disproportionate restriction of access or the use of these media."

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