Reporters Without said today it was concerned about the disappearance of Haitian radio reporter Peterson Milord and called on the government to thoroughly investigate at once in view of the current climate of impunity in the country. Milord was found on 29 August, naked and tied up, in a field of sugar cane by the Rouyonne river, near Léogane, 30 km southwest of Port-au-Prince. He was reportedly unharmed.
The journalist, correspondent of Radio Vision 2000 and Radio Passion in Léogane (southwest of Port-au Prince), disappeared on 27 August soon after a mystery jeep was noticed near his home. He was seen once that day by friends but did not return home in the evening.
"Those who killed radio journalists Jean Dominique and Brignol Lindor are still walking free," said Reporters Without Borders secretary-general Robert Ménard in a letter to Haitian President Jean-Betrand Aristide, "and we fear other journalists will fall victim to such violence." He noted that despite promises made by Aristide on 17 December 2001, nothing had been done to protect journalists who received threats.
Milord had been roughly thrown out of Léogane’s Sainte Rose de Lima church on 23 August while covering a mass attended by Aristide. He was expelled on the orders of the priest, Fr Fritz Sauvaget, with the help of presidential security police. Sauvaget later charged he had put out false reports about him. This was denied by Radio Vision 2000 chief Léopold Béranger. Marius Emmanuel, head of Radio Passion, said shots had been fired outside the radio station the evening before Milord disappeared.
Nearly 30 journalists have been forced to flee Haiti in the past three years after threats to them by Aristide supporters. Two journalists have been killed. President Aristide is on the Reporters Without Borders worldwide list of "predators of press freedom."