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Press group denounces attacks on the press and freedom of speech

P-au-P., Feb. 22, 03 [AlterPresse] --- In a three-page document detailing repeated threats and attacks on journalists and media, the Group for Reflection and Action for Freedom of the Press (GRALIP) denounced the “crusade against freedom of speech†tolerated by government authorities more concerned with propaganda campaigns than with the well-being of the Fourth Estate.

GRALIP especially condemned the attack and threats on Radio Métropole journalist Jean Numa Goudou, who is now in hiding, and deplored “the generalization of political intolerance which threatens and outrageously violates freedom of speech and of opinion, as well as puts into danger the exercise of the journalistic profession and of the right to information which is interdependent with the enjoyment of all other civil liberties which are guaranteed by basic societal norms, by the laws of the Republic, by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and by international conventions committed to by the world’s states.â€

The press group, founded over a decade ago during the coup d’état against President Jean-Bertrand Aristide, then serving his first term, also harshly reprimanded state and “para-statal†media for their “nauseating†propaganda campaigns which promote a “cult of the personality†of the president, and whose messages are “founded on lies, calumny, propagation of hatred and incitement of violence.â€

“These media, which should be sanctioned by the profession and by society for having, at the very least, promoted the systematic cult of the personality in flagrant violation of Article 7 of the Constitution, constitutes a true land mine destined to explode the collective conscience and to obscure public opinion which is being deprived of its right to balanced and credible information. Worse still, in addition to the publicity spots benefiting – without any justification – a regime already over-publicized to the point of obsession, the images of the Head of State literally flood the small screen via publicity-journalism, broadcasts of public meetings, speeches, and official declarations,†GRALIP said. [jr apr 22/09/03 23:00]