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Frantzsen Charles and Tayson Lartigue shot dead in in Port-au-Prince

BY Anas Shah Sep 16, 2022. 12:07 am UPDATED: Sep 16, 2022. 12:07 am

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The Committee to Protect Journalists demanded on Thursday that Haitian authorities respond swiftly to investigate a vicious attack that claimed the lives of two journalists, ensure that their corpses be returned to their families, and guarantee that the press can operate in safety.

According to news reports and Jacques Desrosiers, secretary-general of the Association of Haitian Journalists (AJH), a local trade group, who spoke with CPJ via messaging app, Frantzsen Charles and Tayson Lartigue were shot and killed while covering rising gang violence in the Cité Soleil neighbourhood of Port-au-Prince, Haiti’s capital, at around 3 p.m. on Sunday, September 11. The attack targeted a group of journalists who were covering the story. According to such claims, no bodies of the journalists have been found.

“Frantzsen Charles and Tayson Lartigue are the latest names added to this year’s tragic tally of journalists killed while on assignment in Haiti,” said CPJ Latin America and the Caribbean Program Coordinator Natalie Southwick. “Haitian authorities cannot continue standing idly by as the country’s journalists risk — and lose — their lives to keep their fellow citizens informed. Authorities must ensure Charles and Lartigue’s bodies are returned to their loved ones and that Haitian journalists can do their jobs safely.”

According to Desrosiers and the Haitian news website AyiboPost, which spoke with residents of Cité Soleil and interviewed witnesses there, Charles and Lartigue were among a group of seven journalists who went to the area to report on ongoing gang violence there and speak with the family of a 17-year-old resident killed the day before. According to those reports, the group had just finished their interviews and was leaving the neighbourhood with Charles and Lartigue leading the way on the motorcycle when they were attacked and shot.

According to news sources, the other five journalists were able to escape and find safety. There, they made an effort to contact Charles and Lartigue and ask them to come get them. One of the other journalists in the group told AyiboPost that Charles and Lartigue’s motorcycle and reporting gear were taken by the assailants.

Desrosiers informed CPJ that rival armed groups have been fighting bloodily in Cité Soleil for a number of weeks.

Speaking on behalf of the force, Garry Desrosiers told the Spanish news agency EFE that the police “had knowledge” that Charles and Lartigue had been slain and that they were “known that five of the journalists ‘exited with difficulty’ from the area.” He cautioned reporters to “be wary” when covering areas like Cité Soleil.

Acting Prime Minister Ariel Henry posted a series of tweets about the case to his official Twitter account on Monday.

“We are deeply shocked by the news of the assassination of two young journalists: Tayson Latigue and Frantzsen Charles, yesterday Sunday, in Cité-Soleil, in the exercise of their profession. We strongly condemn this barbaric act, while sending our heartfelt thoughts to the families of the victims and their colleagues,” Henry wrote.

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“Armed conflicts between rival gangs make it difficult for journalists to work in Haiti,” AJH’s Desrosiers told CPJ. “This is the second time in the year 2022 that journalists have been murdered while working in the field.”

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