Haiti can’t 'Build Back Better' without better journalists
As Haiti continues to struggle to recover from the devastating earthquake that struck the island in 2010 a TIME magazine article raises questions as to why the re-build effort is not moving forward as some had hoped. Haiti has received billions dollars in foreign aid and recently published time magazine article discusses the media’s role and the lack of progress in the rebuild effort.
After the earth quake the Haitian media stepped up to the plate and became the go to news outlet for Haitian’s and the international press. Some had hoped that the Haitian press would become a true Fourth Estate in the country and play a critical role as a watchdog organization, reporting on the “Build Back Better” campaign and keeping an eye on how the billions of dollars in aid was spent. However, the Haitian press has not played that role and as the people continue to suffer two years later other new outlets are asking, where has the money gone?
If there was one feel-good moment following Haiti’s ghastly 2010 earthquake, it was the heroic efforts of Radio Signal – the only station in Port-au-Prince broadcasting after the quake ravaged the capital and killed more than 200,000 people. Its staff took to the airwaves at great personal sacrifice and sometimes risk, providing desperately needed news of loved ones and information that directed people to triage sites and water and food distribution centers. And it filled the void left by then President René Préval, who had gone inexplicably mute.
In the weeks that followed, as Haiti struggled to right itself one piece of rubble at a time, other media joined the info-lifeline. As the globally-funded recovery plan known as “Build Back Better” took shape, it seemed inevitable that the Haitian press – whose reputation before the earthquake had been as feeble as the buildings that collapsed – would also be rebuilt. It would become a dynamic Fourth Estate that could watchdog the reconstruction and the billions of dollars pouring in to finance it.
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