Freedom of the Press 2008 - Solomon Islands
|Publication Date||29 April 2008|
|Cite as||Freedom House, Freedom of the Press 2008 - Solomon Islands, 29 April 2008, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/4871f631c.html [accessed 9 October 2015]|
Legal Environment: 5 (of 30)
Political Environment: 14 (of 40)
Economic Environment: 11 (of 30)
Total Score: 30 (of 100)
(Lower scores = freer)
The law in the Solomon Islands provides for freedom of speech and of the press, though provisions of a draft constitution under consideration would reportedly further strengthen legal guarantees for freedom of speech. The draft also includes a right of reply section (s39) that enables people harmed by "inaccurate or offensive" media reports to have a correction published. The case of Australian citizen Julian Moti, sworn in as the country's Attorney General in July in defiance of an extradition warrant by Australia over alleged sex offences in Vanuatu in the 1990s, was a key media issue during the year. Moti had advised the Solomon Islands government to investigate allegations that Australian police, part of the Regional Assistance Mission to the Solomon Islands (RAMSI), had provoked ethnic violence that broke out in the capital of Honiara during 2006. This raised concerns among local journalists because RAMSI had been heavily involved in the country's media development by providing training and support programs to bolster the local press. The tensions subsided by year's end, however, when Moti was extradited to Australia after Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare was ousted from power in December 2007 in a vote of no-confidence.
One daily newspaper, the independent Solomon Star, dominates the media scene. Three private weekly papers – Solomons Voice, Solomon Times, and the new Island Sun, established in November – are also published, along with the monthly newsletters Agrikalsa Nius and the Citizen's Press. Low literacy rates mean that the broadcast media are major news sources. The Solomon Islands Broadcasting Corporation operates the national public station Radio Hapi Isles, Wantok FM, and the provincial stations Radio Hapi Lagun and Radio Temotu. Several other private commercial stations, including Paoa FM, also operate. There are no domestic television stations, although the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, the British Broadcasting Corporation, and other satellite channels can be received. The internet is not restricted by the government, but it is accessed by less than 2 percent of the population.