Sony Esteus

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Sony Esteus
Nationality Haitian
Occupation radio journalist
Organization Sosyete Animasyon Kominikayon Sosyal
Known for 1991 assault
Awards International Press Freedom Award (1991)

Sony Esteus is a Haitian radio journalist. For seventeen years, he has served as executive director of Sosyete Animasyon Kominikayon Sosyal (Society for the Promotion of Social Communications, SAKS), an organization supporting Haitian community-based radio.[1] At its height, SAKS supported around 30 community radio stations around the country, though many of these faced difficulties and suspended broadcasts following the 2010 earthquake.[2] Esteus also serves as the Caribbean representative of the World Association of Community Radio Broadcasters.[2]

During the 1991 Haitian coup d'état that deposed Jean-Bertrand Aristide, Esteus was working for radio Tropic FM.[3] While covering a political rally on 12 April 1992, Esteus was arrested by three plainclothes policemen. He was taken by taxi to the headquarters of the Port-au-Prince police, where police officials accused his station of having pro-Aristide sympathies. He was held and interrogated for five hours, during which police scratched him, pistol-whipped him, and finally forced him to lie on his stomach while being beaten with a stick. His right hand, left arm, and two fingers on his left hand were broken in the attacks.[4] In the final interrogation, the officers demanded that he confess to distributing pro-Aristide leaflets. When Esteus refused, he was released by a police captain who claimed to have just discovered that Esteus was a reporter. Tropic FM suspended its broadcasts in light of the attack and ongoing threats, while Esteus spent the next three months in bed with his arms in slings.[4]

Later in the year, Esteus was awarded an International Press Freedom Award from the Committee to Protect Journalists for courage in reporting.[5] Esteus went on to work for Radio Haiti Inter for nearly a decade before the station's 2003 closing.[2]

References[edit]

  1. ^ José Luis Soto. "Haiti update: SAKS’ Appeal". World Association for Christian Communication. Retrieved 22 June 2011. 
  2. ^ a b c Jean Roland Chery (27 January 2010). "Community radio stations obliterated, off the air in Haiti". Committee to Protect Journalists. Retrieved 22 June 2011. 
  3. ^ John Libbey (1993). Reporters sans frontières 1993 report. Reporters without Borders. Retrieved 22 June 2011. 
  4. ^ a b America Watch Committee (1993). Silencing a people: the destruction of civil society in Haiti. Human Rights Watch. Retrieved 22 June 2011. 
  5. ^ Michael Blowen (23 October 1992). "Seriously, he's an actor". Boston Globe. Retrieved 22 June 2011.