US principal deputy assistant-secretary of state for the Western hemisphere, John Feeley, commended current efforts to solve the case of Jean Dominique, who was the Caribbean country’s most famous journalist and political commentator. The journalist was gunned down in April 2000. Feeley praised what he called the Haitian people’s desire for a free press, shown by the fact that 14 years after Jean Dominique’s killing, people in Haiti still remember him and wish to find the perpetrators. Here are excerpts:
At the end of last year, a Haitian investigating judge, Yvickel Dabrezil, issued a report in which he targeted nine suspects he designated as perpetrators of the killing of Dominique, including a close ally of former president Jean-Bertrand Aristide, Mirlande Lubérisse, who is described as the crime’s mastermind. The case is now before Haiti’s Supreme Court, which has been called on to decide on the case rapidly to avoid further delay in the process that should lead to the final results of the inquiry and to the expected criminal trial.
Feeley said the commitment of the United States towards freedom of expression and a free press is “unquestioning and incredibly firm”. He highlighted the work done by the US with other governments and journalists around the world to promote and uphold press freedom and freedom of expression. Feeley, who is responsible for the daily management of US regional policy implementation and the supervision of 50 diplomatic posts in the Americas, also underlined the crucial role media and journalists play in societies around the world. “We promote and we help other countries and societies promote the free flow of information,” he said. “A press that is diverse, a press that is pluralistic is a press that does a service to the democracy of any country, and that’s our position, and we manifest it through our many programs…,” Feeley added.
The IAPA summit, which ended on Monday, gathered newspaper owners, editors, press freedom advocates from across the Americas, and guest speakers from European countries such as England and Spain, to discuss ways to strengthen efforts aimed at fighting impunity, laws and regulations restricting press freedom and freedom of expression, among other concerns.
Photo of Dominique and his wife, Michele Montas, see http://www.haiti-liberte.com/index-2014.asp