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The Association of Caribbean Media Workers (ACM) on Tuesday called for swift justice following the killing of freelance Haitian journalist, Romélson Vilcin, reportedly at the hands of police on Sunday.
Vilcin had covered protests over the brutal arrest and detention of broadcast journalist Robeste Dimanche before he was killed in the courtyard of the police station where the reporter was being held.
“We are looking forward to an investigation that is prompt and thorough and which leads to the criminal prosecution of those responsible,” the ACM said.
“The ACM joins with the Association of Haitian Journalists (AJH) in also calling on the authorities to end the practice of employing violent behavior against media workers while in pursuit of their duties.
We are particularly concerned that in the current climate of pervasive criminal violence, there has seemingly been no attempt to ensure that the work of the free press is observed and protected.”
The association said the recent suspension of the production and distribution of print versions of Le Nouvelliste newspaper – an independent, authoritative media enterprise – results directly from that state of affairs.
“We note that one of its leading journalists, Roberson Alphonse, continues to recover from serious injuries sustained during an October 25 assassination attempt, and we wish him best wishes and the hope that he is nursed back to good health,” it said.
The ACM added that it shares the deep concern of all Caribbean journalists over the deteriorating situation in Haiti and its impact on the practice of independent journalism.
“Our courageous colleagues there have our complete support, and we encourage the promotion of diplomatic and other regional efforts that can have the impact of bringing the situation under some measure of control,” it said.
For the year so far, six journalists have been killed and another has disappeared. The ACM said securing justice in these cases can play a key role in signaling the seriousness of official measures to address deteriorating conditions.