Kiribati | Freedom House

Freedom of the Press

Kiribati

Kiribati

Freedom of the Press 2006

2006 Scores

Press Status

Free

Press Freedom Score
(0 = best, 100 = worst)

28

Political Environment
(0 = best, 40 = worst)

9

Economic Environment
(0 = best, 30 = worst)

14

Freedom of speech and of the press are protected by law and generally respected in practice. In July, the media freely reported on calls for President Anote Tong's resignation over his failure to resolve a scandal involving Korean fishermen who engaged in sexual relations with young Kiribati girls. Radio Kiribati, the country's only state-run radio station, also broadcast stories that openly accused government officials of overspending. However, on December 6 Radio Kiribati fired journalist Taberannang Korauaba for not revealing his sources for a report on a case of corruption involving Kiribati's auditor general. A number of government ministers, including Information Minister Natan Tewe, publicly accused Kiribati journalists-even those working for the state-run media-of irresponsible reporting. The Kiribati Islands Media Association has yet to finalize its proposed new constitution and code of ethics. Owing to a weak economy, Kiribati's population has limited access to diverse sources of information. The state-run newspaper, Te Uekera, and the privately owned Kiribati New Star operate on a weekly basis and offer diverse viewpoints. Newsletters from the Catholic and Protestant churches provide alternative sources of information. Newair FM 101, a small independent radio station located in South Tarawa, reaches about half the population. Kiribati is home to no more than 2,000 internet users (roughly 2 percent of the population), and the government does not restrict their access.