Reporters Without Borders hails the courage and perseverance of the staff of Radio Boukman, who resumed broadcasting on 20 March, 15 days after its director-general, Jean Liphète Nelson, was gunned down, and who are determined to maintain his commitment to help the population of Cité Soleil, the Port-au-Prince district where the community radio is based.
“The radio station’s programming has resumed and we are continuing to broadcast from our studios in Cité Soleil despite the many suggestions that we should relocate,” news editor Jean Junior Joseph said. “By staying, we are complying with the wishes of Cité Soleil’s population, which has adopted Radio Boukman as its own.”
Launched in June 2006 and providing a recognized educational service, Radio Boukman is the only news media based in Cité Soleil, a sprawling shantytown on the northern side of the capital. Named after Dutty Boukman, the “houngan” (Vaudou priest) who started the 1791 slave revolt, it provided a great deal of help to the victims of the January 2010 earthquake.
Emotion has been running high in Cité Soleil ever since Nelson’s murder on 5 March. One of his alleged killers was lynched by angry residents. “We were told of the arrest of two other presumed accomplices but we do not know what has happened with the case since then,” Radio Boukman manager Joachim Jorel said.
The arrests were made in the course of a major anti-crime operation in the capital that is being carried out jointly by the Haitian National Police (PNH) and members of the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH), a peacekeeping force.
According to the information obtained by Reporters Without Borders, one of the suspects arrested in the Nelson murder investigation is Mackenson Baptiste, a known criminal who recently escaped from prison. So far there is no evidence linking the murder to Nelson’s work.
Watch a report about Radio Boukman by the Internet documentary video-makers of Solidar’IT in Haiti.