Haiti | Freedom House

Freedom of the Press



Freedom of the Press 2003

2003 Scores

Press Status

Not Free

Press Freedom Score
(0 = best, 100 = worst)


Political Environment
(0 = best, 40 = worst)


Economic Environment
(0 = best, 30 = worst)


Although press freedom is provided for in the constitution, laws to protect the press are rarely enforced. Moreover, government respect for press freedom deteriorated in the past year. The reach of the print media is severely limited by the high rate of illiteracy in the country. Broadcast media, on the other hand, are plentiful, with several hundred radio stations operating throughout Haiti. Journalists are frequently harassed by government supporters and are sometimes subjected to physical violence. Although journalists are critical of the government, investigative journalism is rare and many journalists practice self-censorship. Those responsible for the December 2001 hacking to death of journalist Brignol Lindor and the April 2000 murder of journalist Jean Leopold Dominique have not yet been brought to justice. Attacks on the press increased toward the end of the year in the wake of antigovernment protests in the north; one radio station was partially torched, and several journalists were forced into hiding after receiving threats from a pro-Aristide militia known as the "Cannibal Army." Many radio stations reportedly censor content so as not to lose advertising funds. Because of the extremely poor economic situation in Haiti, journalists can be susceptible to bribery.