Freedom of the Press 2008 - Kiribati
|Publication Date||29 April 2008|
|Cite as||Freedom House, Freedom of the Press 2008 - Kiribati, 29 April 2008, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/4871f61128.html [accessed 29 March 2015]|
Legal Environment: 5 (of 30)
Political Environment: 8 (of 40)
Economic Environment: 13 (of 30)
Total Score: 26 (of 100)
(Lower scores = freer)
The tiny island nation of Kiribati has a free and open media system. Freedom of expression is safeguarded under Article 12 of the constitution; however, there are some restrictions. Newspapers are required to register with the government under the Newspaper Registration Act. Additionally, the Newspaper Registration (Amendment) Act of 2004 gives the government the power to stop publication of newspapers that face complaints. There is no official censorship, although journalists have self-censored under political pressure from the government. In 2007, Kiribati joined the newly-formed Micronesian Media Association to protect free and independent journalism and public access to information.
Leading up to the second round of parliamentary elections in August 2007, a member of the opposition party was denied the opportunity to broadcast a speech on the government owned Broadcasting and Public Authority (BPA) radio station. Former BPA radio journalist Taberannang Korauaba lost his appeal against the government for wrongful dismissal in 2006 after refusing to reveal his source for a 2005 corruption report. Korauaba began publishing Tematairiki news in 2006, a community paper distributed in Tarawa, which changed to Islander Sun in December 2007.
The state-run newspaper, Te Uekera, and the nation's only privately owned newspaper, Kiribati New Star, both operate on a weekly basis and offer diverse viewpoints. Newsletters from Catholic and Protestant churches provide additional sources of information. There is one state AM and FM radio station and one private broadcaster in Tarawa. In 2006, the government hired Powercom, a Tasmanian company, to set up the country's first radio contact between the coral islands. The internet is unrestricted; however, with a single provider access is among the most expensive in the world, and only 2 percent of the country's population was able to make use of the internet on a regular basis during the year. Toward the end of 2007, Fiji-based Digicel sought license to begin Internet operations in Kiribati, which would put an end to the government's monopoly on telecommunications.