Decades of poverty, environmental mismanagement, political instability and dictatorship have left Haiti as one of the poorest nations in the Northern Hemisphere.
The capital Port-au-Prince was hit by a devastating earthquake in January 2010, which killed over 300,000 people and devastated much of the city and its surrounding areas. Much of the country’s radio and TV stations were heavily damaged, and as media houses collapsed in the eartquake, many journalists were left unemployed with the remaining media outlets lacking in essential facilities and equipment.
As Haiti’s key news medium, radio played an important role in providing timely and relevant information on the humanitarian crisis that emerged after the earthquake. Various social media platforms were also used as communication channels after the earthquake with the first images of the disaster coming from citizens’ mobile phones.
To address the dire situation after the earthquake, IMS together with a number of other organisations sought to coordinate aid efforts through the initiative Communicating with Disaster Affected Communities (CDAC). The work carried out by CDAC seeks to facilitate a link between humanitarian agencies and local media sectors, a crucial relationship in the dissemination of life-saving information. IMS provided direct support to journalists and media associations affected by the earthquake and strengthened the ability of media to produce humanitarian information and news.
In the aftermath of the country’s earthquake IMS continued its development of Haiti’s media by supporting investigative reporting on aid and reconstruction and by seeking to improve the general capacity of Haitian media institutions.