SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic (RSF) — At least three journalists were injured while covering clashes between police and protesters of Haitian origin in the Dominican capital on 20 September. The street fighting erupted in the neighbourhood known as 27 de Febrero when a policeman fatally shot a man of Haitian origin identified as Yanisel Yan.
The three journalists known to have been injured were Telesistema reporter Yasiris Sánchez and her cameraman, José Cruz, and Color Visión cameraman Silvino da Silva. Sánchez was hospitalized with a serious injury to her left arm while Cruz received 15 stitches to a gash in his forehead caused by a stone.
“We condemn the violence against journalists covering the protests,” said Camille Soulier, the head of the Reporters Without Borders Americas desk. “Both demonstrators and police must respect the work that journalists do. It is essential that media are able to cover an incident as serious as the one that triggered these clashes. The authorities must protect reporters.”
Relations between the Dominican Republic and neighbouring Haiti have deteriorated since last year, when a Dominican supreme court judge ruled that anyone who had been born in the Dominican Republic of foreign citizens in transit or residing illegally would no longer be deemed to have Dominican citizenship.
It is estimated that this retroactive decision affects as many as 200,000 descendants of Haitians who have migrated to the Dominican Republic since 1929.
The Dominican Republic is ranked 68th out of 180 countries in the 2014 Reporters Without Borders press freedom index.