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 island nation of Vanuatu continues have a small, but vibrant press. Freedom of expression is protected under Article 5.1.g of the constitution, and this right is generally respected in practice. As the result of a media workshop in August, Transparency International Vanuatu and Media Association blong Vanuatu (MAV) agreed to draft Vanuatu’s first freedom of information bill. The draft was pending at year’s end. Although officials do not actively interfere with media coverage, journalists have been censored or intimidated on occasion. In March, the Pacific Islands News Association condemned the actions of the Vanuatu police when they assaulted photographer Samuel Taffo and imprisoned Vanuatu Daily Post publisher Marc Neil-Jones in separate incidents. Police Commissioner Arthur Caulton promptly apologized for the incidents and launched investigations. There are private print media, but only one radio and one television station on the island, both state-owned. Radio broadcasts have increased since the installation of new transmitters at the beginning of 2006. In October, the MAV expressed concern over political interference at the Vanuatu Broadcasting and Television Corporation, including the suspension of its general manager by Prime Minister Ham Lini, who is also the minister for media. The internet is not restricted by the government, though it is accessed by only 3.4 percent of the population.