Community Media Reconstruction Slow in Haiti

One year after a devastating earthquake struck Haiti killing over
250,000 people and paralyzing its communications and information
infrastructure, reconstruction of the country is slowly gaining

Professor Ary Regis, President of WACC- Caribbean Region and based in
Haiti, reports that communication in general has been re-established
and local media have resumed operations. However, he cautioned that
re-construction of community media has been slow and hampered by a
myriad challenges.

╲Community radio stations are very fragile right now. In certain
cases they have been wiped out by commercial media which have more
resources and better means of recovery╡, he said.

According to Regis, the situation has been exacerbated by the
country's fragile economy, political and social unrest. ╲There are
fewer volunteers working in community radio stations because of the
bad economy╡. 

These and other challenges are hindering local communities from
voicing their needs, said Regis in a telephone interview from

Soon after the earthquake, WACC launched an appeal to raise funds to
rebuild community media in the country. Nearly 60,000 Dollars were
raised through donations from WACC members and friends. The donations
have been used to re-construct and re-equip three community media
networks run by WACC partners. They include Rezo Fanm Radyo Kominote
Ayisyen (REFRAKA), Medialternatif Group/&Alterpresse and Social
Animation and Communication Society (SAKS). 

Marie Guyrleine Justin, Coordinator of REFRAKA, was grateful to WACC
for re-equipping and reconstructing the station. ╲Thanks to the
financial and technical support by WACC, a lot of the work spaces have
been re-equipped and re-vamped.╡ The radio station is now operating
from a new studio, she said, adding that the network has also
conducted radio production training workshops for young people. 

Justin, however laments that most of the community radio stations in
the country are isolated and far from the cities and that there are
hardly any women radio presenters. ╲The majority of women donâ•˙t
have access and are not trained╡, she noted.

Gotson Pierre, Executive Director of Alterpresse said that operations
at Medialternatif Group&Alterpresse had resumed since acquiring new
equipment. ╲We have been temporarily renting space in Pétionville
but we will relocate to our own premises in April this year.╡ The
network has produced seven videos since May 2010. 

Pierre, however, observed that full recovery of the network's
operations still has a long way to go. ╲Although we are carrying out
training, the re-construction has been delayed by other social
problems such as re-building the education system and unemployment.╡

He emphasized that community media are equally crucial as they are
independent spaces where people can freely express and experience
their human and social rights. 

╲Community media represent the link between the people and the
state. It is a space to ask questions and to reflect. It is the sole
reference point for local communities, a source of information and
knowledge╡, he said.

WACC General Secretary, the Rev. Karin Achtelstetter, affirmed
WACCâ•˙s ongoing commitment and concern for the members and partner
organizations that have worked in Haiti for many years. She thanked
members and friends who supported the Haiti re-construction fund. 

╲This is an expression of the global solidarity of our network╡,
said Achtelstetter.

To donate and learn more about the Haiti Fund, please go to:

For more information contact:

Terry Mutuku: 

Communications Officer and Web Manager, WACC