Today, the Voice of America Creole Service celebrates its 30th anniversary. The service started as a five-minute news feed in the early 1980s with one broadcaster, and it became a regularly scheduled broadcast on February 7, 1986, when a popular uprising forced Haitian dictator Jean-Claude “Baby Doc” Duvalier into exile.
As democracy emerged in Haiti, VOA Creole Service continued to meet the information needs of the Haitian people. VOA has long been the leading international broadcaster in Haiti.
For the past 30 years, the Creole Service has covered many stories of significance to the Haitian audience, including elections and changes in governments, migration issues; the inauguration of Barack Obama as the first African-American President of the United States; and the January 2010 earthquake that killed hundreds of thousands and left more than a million homeless in Haiti.
In addition, in cooperation with the U.S. Department of State and other agencies, the VOA Creole Service provides training for Haitian journalists. Since 2008, VOA Creole has trained more than 100 Haitian journalists.
In February 2015, the Creole Service began to televise one of its radio shows in an effort to reach Haiti’s predominantly young audience. TV stations in all ten regions of Haiti carry VOA Creole Service broadcasts.
“From the day they opened their microphones in February 1986, VOA’s Creole Service has been a true champion of democracy in Haiti.”
“From the day they opened their microphones in February 1986, VOA’s Creole Service has been a true champion of democracy in Haiti,” said Broadcasting Board of Governors Chief Operating Officer and Director John Lansing. “For more than 30 years, the Creole Service has time and time again proven invaluable to the people of Haiti, providing them with high-quality, professional journalism through six presidential elections and life-saving information after the 2010 earthquake. Their impact in the lives of Haitians cannot be overstated.”
VOA Creole remains among the most reliable and trustworthy sources of news and information for Creole speakers in Haiti. A 2012 study by the International Broadcasting Bureau indicated 81.6 percent of weekly listeners trusted the news and information received from the VOA Creole Service.
As U.S. State Department Haiti Special Coordinator Kenneth Merten noted: “For thirty years, Voice of America Creole Service has provided straight-forward and unbiased news, bringing to the remotest corners of Haiti the first draft of history as it unfolds. The quest for truth 24/7 by journalists worldwide is outstanding work we should not take for granted.”