Dominican Authorities Ban Creole Radio Program and Crack Down on Protesters

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In February, the Dominican Republic's telecommunications chief suspended the Creole-language news program of a popular Dominican radio station based in the southwest region of the country, near the Haitian border. After receiving complaints from Haiti's de facto military rulers, the Dominican authorities barred Radio Enriquillo from transmitting its news program in Creole, the Haitian language. The program is widely heard in Haiti. Since the ruthless supression of the Haitian press, which began on the first day of the September 30, 1991 military coup in Haiti, Radio Enriquillo has been a main source of information for Haitians on developments in their own country -- including human rights abuses by the army -- as well as on the progress of international negotiations for the restoration of ousted President Jean-Bertrand Aristide. By seeking to silence Radio Enriquillo's Creole broadcasts to Haiti, Dominican authorities have become a party to the Haitian military's efforts to impose a blackout on all independent sources of information reaching the Haitian people. The banning of the Creole program also marked the beginning of a crackdown on local Dominican popular organizations that have sought peacefully to demonstrate their support for Radio Enriquillo.

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