What If The Haitian Media Treated CRIME As Local News?

FOOD FOR THOUGHT - An in-depth look at how a simple change in Haitian Media operations could change the outlook on Haiti from BAD to GOOD overnight... Read this...

Haiti - Green Light

In The United States of America, Washington politics is NATIONAL news but crime is LOCAL news unless O.J. Simpson is being chased in a white Bronco...

What if the Haitian media did the same thing?

Don't get me wrong, this is not something that is easy to implement in Haiti; this why we are playing the "What If" game..

This is a pretty lengthy article so bear with me...

Consider this...

The major networks in the United States, NBC, ABC, and CBS, have lots of sub stations.

For example, here in South Florida where I live, as of the writing of this article, I am watching CBS news, But... I am watching CBS Miami... I don't have a choice... Hmmmm???

When you watch CBS news in Miami you basically know what is happening here in the Miami area; We are not NOT even talking about the entire state of Florida, we are talking about just two counties, Dade and Broward county Florida.

Except for news that the entire nation is concerned about, which you will probably hear about in the CBS Evening News, the 6 O'Clock news is mainly local.

There is another plus to this...

Because the news is local, people in the local Miami area get lots of recognition on TV, you often hear about local heroes and people whom other communities wouldn't care about, you know what the local government is doing, you know which local business is having a sale, you know which local restaurant just opened, and of course, you know about criminal activities happening in a neighborhood near you.

No need to alarm the entire nation that a Miami gang banger just shot his adversary... You know what I mean?

Let me give you a few examples:

  1. A few days ago, a man was murdered on 163rd St in North Miami. Did you know that?
  2. Over the weekend, a young man got shot in a night club in Miami.
  3. Last night, a man got run over by at least 8 cars in Miami, only one driver stopped.
  4. A little boy is hailed a hero for alerting the people in his home that the air conditioning was on fire hence saving their lives.
  5. People in Hollywood Florida are complaining because their local tax bill just went up. They are NOT mad at President Obama, only local officials who made the decision.

Did you notice I did not say "In Florida" or "in the United States"???

These are all news I heard about on NBC but... Unless you live in Miami Dade or Broward County Florida, I guarantee you, you have no idea what I am talking about. Do you?

Where do you live? in what County? What region? What's in the news there that I don't know about? What did you see on your Television set? What did you hear about on your Radio?

Is the United States suppressing information?

No... Not really... Think about it for a minute...

There are 300+ million people living in the USA, If they knew everyday how many people TOTAL were raped, murdered, shot and kidnapped; if they knew how many criminals TOTAL escaped from prison in the ENTIRE United States, many of they would migrate to another country... I know you would be so afraid that you would swim back to Haiti...

But you don't... You only know what is happening in your local area... Well... unless Britney Spears broke a nail...

Britney Spears is NATIONAL!!! She is a celebrity... But Jane Doe? Who cares?

I bet you know that Beyonce is pregnant but... Did you know???

There were 36,760 crimes reported by the FBI in Washington D.C. alone just in 2010? Did you know that of these crimes 187 of them were forcible rape? Did you know that 132 of them were murders? Did you know that 5,036 of them were vehicle thefts?

You didn't did you?

There is a reason for that...

The truth is:

  1. People want to feel safe, the government and/or the media knows that. So petty criminals are not treated like Al Capone.
  2. People want to feel important and the media knows that too! So celebrities get national coverage and local heroes get local coverage

That little boy hero I told you about is the man in his neck of the woods and I bet you every little boy in his school want to do what he did too... They would be heroes too... They would be on TV!

That little boy is inspired to do more good! He feels good about himself, his self-esteem goes up, he is important now... Yes he is!

OK... Back to crime...

In the USA, if crime is high in one PART of town, the entire town is not BAD, neither is the State, neither is the United States of America. A person can literally move ONE city block and feel safer...

One city block... Problem solved...

Growing up in Spring Valley NY, there was a specific street corner (Berthune Blvd and Ewing Ave) nick named "The Hill." I wouldn't be caught dead hanging out in that corner... But guess what? I lived on Springbrook Road, that's right next The Hill, there was no drug dealing there and everyone felt safe as though they lived in another State!

What about Haiti???

In Haiti, When a person gets shot in Cite Soleil, you hear "HAITI is not safe!"

In Haiti, when a policeman in Maissade abuses his power, you hear "the HAITIAN government is corrupt."

In Haiti, when the mayor of Delmas tries to rid the sidewalks of street merchants, it is a National crisis and everyone is screaming at the president of the Republic to intervene.

The President of the Republic??? Are you kidding me??? Because a few street merchants are screaming??? WTF???

What can the Haitian Media do to fix this?

Let me tell you about something that Radio Lumiere used to do when I was growing up in Hinche Haiti...

Radio Lumiere had a satellite station in Hinche, and every weekday, at 7 in the morning, everyone in Hinche and the surrounding area would hear the voice of Delile Exil, the local radio reporter, sending out "le petit dejeuner" to names of people you knew. At certain times in the day, the local station would relay the national broadcast from the mother station in Port-au-Prince.

Growing up in Hinche, Radio Plateau Central only told us about what is happening in Hinche and the surrounding area. It was so much fun to hear the voice of local kids, friends you knew and loved, on the radio, especially on New Year's day, saying "Bonne Annee" to family and friends. I was one of these kids.

One time, Jean Claude Bittard, the owner of the Radio Plateau Central spent weeks denouncing a hideous crime that happened at the local prison. While the nation was not alarmed, everyone in Hinche tuned in every night to listen in because the victim was someone they knew, and everyone appreciated the fact that he stood up for what is right. He is not a national hero but in Hinche, Jean Claude Bittard was my hero because, at that time, you had to have balls of steel ('acier tremper' like he said on the air) to stand up like that.

What If ? ? ?

Considering the fact that everything that happens in Cite Soleil (Port-au-Prince) and Raboteau (Gonaives), reflects Haiti as a whole and because of that, Tourist destinations like Jacmel, Montrouis, and Labadie suffer the consequences, consider this...

What if the Haitian National Communication Agency (CONATEL) rented the SAME radio airwave (i.e 98.6 FM) and television frequency (i.e. Canal 8) by Department or by City instead of Nationally?

What if the Haitian government required ALL national radio and television stations to have at least one sub-station in each department... better yet... each major city?

What is Radio National, Radio Caraibes, Radio Metropole, and all the other National Haitian radio stations had sub-carriers in all Major cities that only broadcast the local news?

What if Television National d'Haiti (TNH), Tele Eclair, and other National Haitian television stations had sub-carriers?

What if crime in Port-au-Prince stayed in Port-au-Prince?

What if people in Careffour were not living in fear every time someone gets shot in Fontamara?

What if the entire Republic of Haiti was not on alert every time a few prisoners escape from Penitencier Nationale?

What if the entire Republic of Haiti was not on alert every time a few dozen people decide to take part in a riot that results in violence in Croix-des-Bouquet?

What if these rioters were not given a NATIONAL platform to scream and yell and make Haitians all over the world think that our beloved Haiti is falling apart simply because some local KAZEK is misbehaving?

Don't you think people would feel safer?

Don't you think tourists and Haitians in general would be less afraid of the WHOLE Republic of Haiti?

Would you consider this "suppressing information" or the right thing to do?

Personally I just don't think Haiti will ever be seen as a "SAFE" tourist destination as long as a homicide in the town Monbin Crochu is broadcast Nationally and the entire world knows about it...

Maybe that's what President Michel Martelly meant when he was telling the media to help promote Haiti... Keep local news local...

Maybe local residents would start to complain about their city Mayor and their congressmen instead of the President of the Republic...

Maybe a riot in St Marc would not entice riots in other parts of the country simply because people are bored, have lots of time in their hands, and need something to do.

What do you think?

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All Comments (4)

Turenne Jean-francois says...

Dear friend, I suggest you to send these ideas to all Haitian Media.

Maybe, you never know, they might change their ways in matters of giving news to the population, because it is really sad to hear the media talk about: Haiti insecurity, when some sh8t happens in Gonaives.

Re: What If The Haitian Media Treated CRIME As Local

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Julner says...

I strongly agree with you Woodring.

some people do politic but they don't understand politic.

They embrace a little part of the politic and reject the main idea.

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Bernadette says...

Woodring, here is my two cents.

I believe freedom of press is an expression of a democratic country.

I think suppressing information would be treating adults Haitians like they were kids. It is the right of each and every citizen to be informed about their country's whereabouts.

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Harold Fleurine says...

Hi woodring you expression mean a lot to me for someone like you, in the haitian community you mind so developping you may see somthing that thusands of haitians people cannot see, there are no question about that brother.Some time you drink milk, but before you drink it, you have to check if the expiration is not expired:Thank you..


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