Radio stations getting back on the air in Port-au-Prince

Gaby Saget with her award from Reporters Without Borders
RSF/IFEX) - "Work is slowly resuming at Radio Métropole," one of its young reporters, Gaby Saget, told RSF. "Most of the staff were not hurt in the earthquake but they have been affected like the rest of the population," said Saget, winner of the 2009 RFI-OIF-Reporters Without Borders Francophone prize. "Our director, Richard Widmaier, got us to go back to work on Monday (18 January 2010) despite the lack of human and financial resources."

One of the leading Port-au-Prince radio stations, Radio Métropole initially resumed broadcasting only online, as did Radio Kiskeya, another of the most popular radio networks in the capital, which had around 50 stations before the earthquake.

Signal FM, Caraïbes FM and the local branch of the French public station RFI were the only three stations that managed to keep going immediately after the earthquake. But thanks to the help of foreign technicians and news media, including Radio France, a total of 20 stations are now operating, a week after the 12 January quake. They include Vision 2000, Radio Lumière, Radio Solidarité, Mélodie FM, Radio One and Radio Boukman, which is based in Cité-Soleil, the capital's biggest slum. The UN mission's station, Radio Minustah, was back on the air on 18 January.

The same is unfortunately not the case with Radio TV Ginen, Radio Soleil, Radio Ibo and Tropic FM, and many other small community radio stations, all totally destroyed. Radio Nationale, the state radio station, is broadcasting via its sister TV station.

The Agence France-Presse office was destroyed but the agency has resumed operating from new rented premises. The premises of the capital's two leading newspapers, "Le Nouvelliste" and "Le Matin", were spared by the quake. But for the time being they are unable to print and the staff are not working. "Le Nouvelliste" has nonetheless been posting some reports on its website.

RSF has been told that the premises of the 12 radio stations based in the southwestern town of Petit-Goâve were not destroyed, but equipment was badly damaged. Some are broadcasting. In Léogâne, a town nearer to the capital, five of the nine stations are able to broadcast although 85 per cent of the buildings were destroyed or badly damaged.

For more information:
Reporters Without Borders
47, rue Vivienne
75002 Paris