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Haiti | International

Denial in Haiti: AP reporter RéGINE
by Haiti Action
Sunday Jan 1st, 2006 9:12 PM
Flashpoints! uncovers NED's campaign of disinformation.
How far will this go?
Has the Associated Press and
the New York Times gone to bed
with the National Endowment for Democracy?


(Flashpoints! - Berkeley) A by-lined freelancer for the Associated Press, who is also a stringer for the New York Times in Haiti, is moonlighting as a consultant for the US Government funded National Endowment for Democracy, according to an official at the NED, and several of the agency's grantees.

NED is funded annually by grants from the US Congress and State Department, with a 2006 global budget of $80 million, an increase of $20 million from 2005. For years the group has played a controversial role-with lopsided funding of elections in foreign countries-in promoting pro-US candidates and policies friendly to US interests. Most recently, the NED has been accused of attempting to destabilize the Venezuelan government.

Regine Alexandre, whose name appears as an AP by-line at least a dozen times starting in May of 2004, and appears as a contributor to two NY Times stories, is a part of an NED "experiment" to place a representative on the ground in countries where the NED has funded groups.

"This is almost like an experiment for us," said Fabiola Cordova, a Haiti program officer with the NED in Washington D.C. on December 6th. "The NED usually doesn't have a field presence and most of the work from our side takes place here in D.C. Then once the grants are approved it's really very much on the grantees' leadership and initiative to 'implement their programs.'"

Cordova said the NED tries to monitor the programs from DC and to provide some financial oversight, but "a lot of the organizations in Haiti really need a lot of hand-holding, so we hired this person to be part-time NED staff on the ground, and she's helped us, well, both identify new grantees and to respond to any specific questions they're going to have on the ground."

Flashpoints! uncovers NED's campaign of disinformation.
How far will this go?

(Flashpoints! — Berkeley) This interview with NY Times Deputy Foreign Editor, Ethan Bonner, about Regine Alexandre was conducted soon after AP announced that they had severed ties with the free-lancer because she is on the payroll of the National Endowment for Democracy. The AP story stated in part that "AP employees must avoid any behavior or activities that create a conflict of interest or compromise our ability to report the news fairly and accurately," said Mike Silverman, the news agency's managing editor."

Alexandre has also been a stringer for the New York Times.

The AP story continued "Alexandre, who freelances for other news organizations, reported only one story for the AP - on the Dec. 24 killing of a U.N. peacekeeper in Haiti — after beginning her association with the NED. She first began reporting for the AP in 2004. After another freelance journalist raised questions this week about Alexandre and the NED, she denied she was an employee of the organization. She said she had made trips into the Haitian countryside to establish links between the NED and Haitian non-governmental organizations and was reimbursed for her expenses. When told later that the NED confirmed her employment, she continued to maintain she did not work for the organization."

The NED said it was unaware when it hired Alexandre that she worked for the AP or any other media organization.