Silence and Complicity
A recent Media Lens alert covers the silence surrounding the killing in Haiti.
Emailed to The Irish Times and the Irish Independent:
firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org
It is now two weeks since the Lancet medical journal published the findings of a study which examined human rights abuses in Haiti since the ousting of democratically-elected President Jean Bertrand Aristide. Only a handful of news outlets have bothered to report on the findings, though this should come as little surprise to those that have followed events in Haiti since the US backed coup of two years ago.
UK based media watch organisation Media Lens, in monitoring the media's reporting of Haiti's human rights situation, have revealed a remarkable trend. Prior to the ousting of President Aristide the British and US media published many articles about the human rights situation in Haiti in order to vilify a leader, unpopular with the US, Canadian and French governments.
Yet following the 'forced exile' of President Aristide there followed large scale human rights abuses in Haiti which have gone unreported in the media. The most blatant example of this silence is the lack of coverage of this study's shocking findings: "8,000 people were murdered in the greater Port-au Prince area of Haiti alone," many by anti-Aristide groups, also, "35,000 women and girls were raped or sexually assaulted, more than half of the victims were children."
In failing to report the dire situation in Haiti the liberal media walks a fine line between inexplicable silence and complicity.
To the RTE News Editor:
Dear Mr. Good,
A study conducted by the Wayne State University school of social work in Detroit Michigan in 2005 of human rights abuses in Haiti since the ousting of democratically-elected President Jean Bertrand Aristide was published in the British medical journal The Lancet last month. The study has received surprisingly little attention given the disturbing picture it paints of life in Haiti since the US backed coup. Among the figures:
8,000 people were murdered in the greater Port-au Prince area of Haiti alone
[22 per cent of the killings were committed by the Haitian National Police (HNP), 26 per cent by the demobilised army or armed anti-Aristide groups, 48 per cent by criminals]
35,000 women and girls were raped or sexually assaulted
[more than half of the victims were children]
The findings are particularly unwelcome for those countries who actively engaged in 'disturbing' the democratic process by forcibly removing President Aristide, as the figures show a sizable proportion of attacks were conducted by political groups with 'Western' support. This however should not impede RTE in reporting the facts.
I hope you can find time to address this issue.
For more information on the report please see: