Freedom of the Press
Press Freedom Score (0 = best, 100 = worst)
Legal Environment(0 = best, 30 = worst)
Political Environment(0 = best, 40 = worst)
Economic Environment(0 = best, 30 = worst)
The tiny island nation of Kiribati has a free and open media system, despite the government’s registration requirements. 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 in August local media were accused of self-censorship by not reporting on the government’s controversial university scholarship allocations, even though the story was covered by the foreign press. While there were no physical attacks on the press in 2006, in March former state radio journalist Taberannang Korauaba lost his appeal against the government for wrongful dismissal. Korauaba was relieved of his position at Radio Kiribati in December 2005 after refusing to reveal his sources for a report on corruption involving Kiribati’s auditor general.
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.