Freedom of the Press - Solomon Islands (2005)

Status: Free
Legal Environment: 5
Political Influences: 14
Economic Pressures: 11
Total Score: 30

Population: n/a
GNI/capita: n/a
Life Expectancy: 61
Religious Groups: Anglican (45 percent), Roman Catholic (18 percent), other [including indigenous beliefs] (37 percent)
Ethnic Groups: Melanesian (93 percent), Polynesian (4 percent), Micronesian (1.5 percent), other (1.5 percent)
Capital: Honiara

The media climate has improved since the establishment of the Australian-led Regional Assistance Mission in the Solomon Islands, which effectively ended the pattern of ethnic violence of the previous few years and encouraged the redevelopment of the country's policing and judicial systems. This in turn led to a safer environment for journalists and the media during 2004. However, threats from political figures have continued. In February, a cabinet minister (and former militant) was sentenced to three years in prison for attempting to extort money from the owner and publisher of a newspaper in 2003. The country lacks diversity in the media, as just one daily newspaper, the Solomon Star, dominates the media scene, with two weekly papers and two monthly newsletters also publishing. 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. One private commercial station, Paoa FM, broadcasts. There is no television station, although Australia's state-run ABC Asia Pacific, BBC World, and other satellite channels are accessible.

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