Journalist for Montreal-based online radio station killed on the job in Haiti

Police patrol after recovering the bodies of journalists killed in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, on January 7.Odelyn Joseph/Associated Press

A journalist working for a Montreal-based online radio station was killed Thursday near the Haitian capital, Port-au-Prince, as he prepared to interview a member of an armed group about the murder of a police inspector.

John Wesley Amady was shot and killed in a “brutal” and “criminal” attack, Francky Attis, general manager of Radio Listen FM, said on Friday. Mr Attis said Mr Amady was 32 years old.

Mr. Amady was with two other journalists in the Laboule 12 area, near Port-au-Prince, when they were attacked, Mr. Attis said in an interview, adding that one of the other journalists was also killed . Mr Attis said reporters were working on a story about the murder of a police inspector earlier this month.

He remembered Mr. Amady as a kind man who worked to support his family, adding that the murdered journalist was the only source of financial support for his sick mother. Mr. Attis said Mr. Amady, who started working for the station in 2018, was able to cover stories in dangerous areas that other journalists could not.

“There are stories that a lot of people wish they could do, but others can’t,” Mr Attis said. “He was always doing them, going to tough neighborhoods, dangerous neighborhoods, talking with gangs. He did that very well. »

Mr. Attis said that although Radio Listen FM’s head office is in Montreal, it has a studio and six employees in Haiti. He condemned the killings, which he said constituted an attack not only on the right to life, but also on the ability of journalists to do their work freely in the country.

“We demand justice from the Haitian authorities, we demand real justice,” he said. “Faced with this growing climate of insecurity, crime and impunity, which continues to plunge Haitian families into mourning, we ask the authorities concerned to take their responsibility in order to create favorable security conditions for all.

The attack was also condemned by media advocacy group Reporters Without Borders, which identified the other slain journalist as Wilguens Louissaint. In a message on Twitter, the group said it “calls on the Haitian authorities to shed full light on this attack and bring those responsible to justice. The working conditions of the press in Haiti have continued to deteriorate these last years.

Haitian Prime Minister Ariel Henry has pledged to crack down on gangs that authorities blame for increased kidnappings and blockades at gas distribution terminals that have caused severe fuel shortages in recent months. The insecurity prompted the United States and Canada to urge their citizens to leave Haiti.

Just days ago, Mr. Henry was forced to flee the northern city of Gonaives following a shootout between his security guards and an armed group who had warned him not to set foot in the town.

The assassination of President Jovenel Moïse on July 7 has left a power vacuum that has fueled violence and a growing humanitarian crisis in the impoverished Caribbean country.

With files from Associated Press

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