HAVANA TIMES – Haitian authorities must immediately investigate the killing of radio journalist Francklin Tamar, determine if he was targeted because of his reporting, and bring those responsible to justice, the Committee to Protect Journalists said Thursday.
Two unidentified individuals on a motorcycle shot Tamar multiple times on Rue Monseigneur Guilloux street near his home in the capital of Port-au-Prince on December 18, according to news reports. Tamar was struck twice and died on his way to the hospital.
Tamar, 38, was a well-known radio journalist who covered music and culture for over two decades, according to reports and statements shared by friends and colleagues on social media. In 2015 he began working at broadcaster Radio Solidarité, where he hosted two programs — a daily cultural program, “Konpa Konpa,” and “Samedi Culture,” a weekly show on Saturdays that promoted Haitian musical artists, according to reports and Tamar’s Facebook.
“Deadly violence against journalists in Haiti has reached an unthinkable level this year, and authorities cannot simply sit by while the country’s media workers continue to be killed,” said Natalie Southwick, CPJ’s Latin America and the Caribbean program coordinator. “Officials must immediately open a transparent investigation into the killing of Francklin Tamar, determine if there was any relation to his work, and ensure those responsible are identified and held to account.”
In interviews with Haitian news outlets, Georges Venel Remarais, Radio Solidarité’s founder and director and president of the Association of Independent Media of Haiti (AMIH), described Tamar’s killing as “a huge loss” for the station. He said he could not speculate about possible motives or whether Tamar had been targeted and called on law enforcement and justice officials to investigate the killing.
In a statement, Haiti’s Ministry of Culture and Communication condemned Tamar’s killing and offered condolences to his family and colleagues but did not provide any additional information.
CPJ’s email to Haitian police did not receive a response.
Six journalists have been killed this year in Haiti in relation to their work, according to CPJ research. CPJ is still investigating whether the deaths of radio host Garry Tess, who was found dead after going missing in the southern city of Les Cayes, and radio journalist Romelson Vilcin, who was killed when police fired tear gas on a group of journalists protesting outside a police station, are related to their journalism.
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