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Stockholm: Skyline International strongly condemns the alarming escalation of dangers faced by journalists in Haiti. Recent incidents involving arson, kidnapping, and attacks pose an imminent threat to the journalistic community and the fundamental principles of press freedom.

In the latest harrowing incident, the resilient and independent broadcaster, Radio Antarctique, fell victim to a ruthless gang attack, leaving devastation in its wake. Approximately 50 individuals armed with assault-style rifles stormed the town of Liancourt, situated just 110 kilometers from the capital, Port-au-Prince. In an act of brazen aggression, the assailants burned down Radio Antarctique along with numerous residences, marking a distressing assault on freedom of expression and the press.

Roderson Elias, the founder of Radio Antarctique, courageously recounted the horrifying ordeal, underscoring the relentless attack that reduced the station to ashes. While Elias and his dedicated team of around a dozen staff members emerged physically unscathed, the tragedy resulted in the loss of four lives and the abduction of several others from Liancourt.

Radio Antarctique's steadfast commitment to reporting on critical issues affecting the local community and exposing violence had drawn the ire of local gangs, ultimately leading to this deplorable act. Skyline International stands in solidarity with Elias and his team, echoing their call for justice and reiterating the imperative for a safer environment where journalists can carry out their vital work without fear of violent reprisals.

This disturbing pattern of violence extends to a series of kidnappings targeting journalists, including the abduction of radio host Blondine Tanis near her Port-au-Prince residence. The demand for ransom underscores the perilous conditions under which journalists operate. We commend the efforts that led to Tanis' release but express deep concern for her health and the well-being of other journalists similarly subjected to these reprehensible acts.

Marie Lucie Bonhomme, a radio journalist, also fell victim to this wave of insecurity, having been kidnapped from her home on July 13. Although she was fortunately released after a few hours, the subsequent abduction of her husband, Pierre-Louis Opont, owner of independent Télé Pluriel channel 44, reveals a deeply troubling trend. As early August, Pierre-Louis Opont's whereabouts remain unknown, further underscoring the urgency of addressing this crisis.

Artur Romeu, Director of the Latin America bureau at Reporters Without Borders, aptly emphasizes the gravity of the situation: "Haitian journalists were already risking their lives whenever they went into the field but now they are in danger even when at home." Skyline International echoes this sentiment and calls upon the Haitian government to take immediate and decisive action to secure the release of abducted journalists and to implement robust measures that safeguard the lives and livelihoods of media professionals.

Skyline International reiterates its unwavering commitment to upholding the principles of press freedom and protecting journalists' right to report without fear of violence or retribution. The deteriorating conditions facing journalists in Haiti necessitate urgent international attention and collective action to halt this alarming trend and ensure a safe and enabling environment for journalism to flourish.