Martelly Apologizes for Security's Bad Behavior toward Journalists
- Friday, July 29, 2011 8:47 AM
JACMEL, Haiti - The President of the Republic, Michel Martelly, was forced to issue an apology on Thursday to journalists in the southeast for the poor behavior of members of his secrete service.
While in the southeast President Martelly served a press conference at Hotel Cap Lamandou, Day 4 of the President's Tourism Week, to which members of his security prevented members of the press from covering the event.
The Agence HaÃ¯tienne de Press learned that journalists awaiting His Excellency in the waiting room were ordered by his officers to vacate the premises.
One fellow in journalism, told the AHP, had to run from the behavior of the president's agents which he characterized as threatening. Reporters were forced to return to their media posts, shunned from the activity of the head of state who was in Jacmel to visit tourist areas and the construction of the Hotel du Port.
Officers also put pressure against a photojournalist who tried to take a photo of the head of state after he had gone shirtless in Jacmel, probably due to the heat, but the outcry over the treatment meted on this day, effected most of the media to stay away from the first part of the activities of the president.
By the end of the day the His Excellency, became aware of the events of his service guards and was forced to make a statement and send an apology via microphone.
The local journalists reached by phone in the early evening by the AHP said they accepted the President's apology but condemned the behavior of his security officers who they wished to make known are not there to test shots and or render service to the Head of State.
Leader in the journalism sector, Nancy Roc of Radio Metropole, spoke out via new media saying:
The intolerance towards the press from both the executive and on the part of mickyistes has become totally unacceptable.
Journalists have their faults, certainly, but you have no idea of the sacrifices they endure. The first lot to me that it is because of the press that Haiti is occupied will be expelled from this page and then BASTA!
Enough is Enough
Last weekend, journalist associations in the Nord had protested against the same security guards who rushed reporters during a tour of the president in the region.
Already in May, police had roughed up journalists and smashed their working tools, while the president was in GonaÃ¯ves attending to victims arson in one of the town's markets.
The incident Thursday came two days after the head of state had launched a masterful "shut up" to the press accused of selling a bad image of the country, at the event for the launch of the tourism magazine, "Magic Haiti."
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Related 03.13.2011: Haitian Journalists Condemn Martelly for Threats