Joseph was murdered yesterday evening near Bayas Park in Mirebalais, 60 km northeast of the capital, Port-au-Prince, by gunmen who made him climb into the trunk of his car and then fired off several rounds, one of them hitting him fatally in the face.
A presenter with Mirebalais-based Panic FM and the Mirebalais correspondent of the Port-au-Prince radio station Méga, Joseph recently reported on social networks and online discussion forums that Mirebalais residents had threatened him. He was very critical of the government and often denounced the way the Mirebalais authorities were dealing with the effects of Haiti’s political crisis.
“The Haitian authorities must urgently identify those responsible for this shocking execution-style murder,” said Emmanuel Colombié, the head of RSF’s Latin America bureau. “The conditions in which Haiti’s journalists are covering the political unrest are extremely dangerous and worrying. The government must guarantee their safety throughout the country and ensure respect for the freedom to inform, which is essential for all Haitians during this troubled period.”
The first journalist to be murdered this year in Haiti was Radio Sans Fin presenter Pétion Rospide, who was fatally shot in Port-au-Prince on 10 June. Joseph’s murder comes amid a months-old wave of often violent protests calling for the removal of President Jovenel Moïse, who is accused of corruption. Haitian journalists are extremely vulnerable and are often targeted during these demonstrations.
Gunmen attacked two radio stations, Télé Zénith and Radio Télé Ginen in June. Elmon Zidor, a journalist with Radio Hozana FM, was stabbed in the southern town of Jacmel on 16 September. An Associated Press photographer sustained a gunshot injury when a ruling party senator, Jean-Marie Ralph Fethière, opened fire to disperse a crowd outside parliament on 23 September. Radio Sans Fin cameraman Edmond Agénor Joseph sustained a serious gunshotinjury while covering a protest on 30 September.
No significant progress has been reported in the investigation into the disappearance of Vladjimir Legagneur, a freelance reporter and photographer who went missing in the capital on 14 March 2018. Haiti is ranked 62nd out of 180 countries in RSF’s 2019 World Press Freedom Index.