Haiti News and the Haitian Media

Haiti is a country with a literacy rate of 53%. It is not surprising that like most other developing countries, radio, the least expensive of all media, reaches maximum Haitian homes. It is a country, where as per an estimate, over 300 radio stations are broadcast everyday. An enactment of 1997 ordered all airwaves to be the property of the government. But still there are at least 50 community-based stations and 133 unlicensed radio stations operating in the country freely providing news and music.

The most popular radio stations of the country where people get their news are: Radio Haiti (1935), Radio Voix du Nord (1945), Radio Caraibes in Port-au-Prince (1949), Radio Citadelle (1950), Radio Independence (1953), Voix Evangelique (1953). Haiti has a long history with media. The first newspaper appeared in 1724 when French journalist Joseph Payen opened his publishing house with authorization from the King of France. The French revolution brought some freedom for the press in the country and over fifty newspapers were in print in 1802. Today, three French Haitian newspapers have over 20,000 total circulations. There are few small Creole language newspapers with irregular publication.

The television in Haiti has experienced unprecedented growth in last twelve months. There are over 25 television channels that telecast varieties of programs everyday in the urban cities, from hourly news and information to the popular Kompas music.

Haiti is a country that has weak economy within a fragile political environment. The most challenges that every media house often faces in this country are, limited resources, low skill level of the employees and hindrances in good communication due to deficiencies in the education system. Freedom of media is a good barometer of democracy in a country. The mass media such as newspapers, radio stations or television may be a good tool of new reconstruction in Haiti.