Solomon Islands | Freedom House

Freedom of the Press

Solomon Islands

Solomon Islands

Freedom of the Press 2008

2008 Scores

Press Status

Free

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

30

Political Environment
(0 = best, 40 = worst)

14

Economic Environment
(0 = best, 30 = worst)

11

The law provides for freedom of speech and of the press, and provisions of a draft constitution under consideration would reportedly strengthen legal guarantees for freedom of speech. However, 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 Australia’s efforts to extradite him over alleged sex offenses in Vanuatu in the 1990s, was a key media issue during 2007. As relations with Australia deteriorated over the matter, some observers predicted that the Solomons government would expel Australians participating in the Regional Assistance Mission to the Solomon Islands (RAMSI). This raised concerns among local journalists because RAMSI had been heavily involved in the country’s media development, providing training and support programs to bolster the local press. The bilateral tensions subsided near the end of the year, however, when Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare lost power in a no-confidence vote in December; Moti was extradited shortly thereafter.

One daily newspaper, the independent Solomon Star, dominates the media scene, although readership is limited by the country’s low literacy rates. Three private weekly papers—Solomons Voice, Solomon Times, and the new Island Sun, established in 2006—are also published, along with the monthly newsletters Agrikalsa Nius and the Citizen’s Press. The Solomon Islands Broadcasting Corporation operates several radio outlets, including the national public station Radio Hapi Isles. Several private commercial stations, including Paoa FM, also operate. There are no domestic television stations, but residents have satellite access to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, the British Broadcasting Corporation, and other foreign channels. The internet is not restricted by the government, but it is accessed by less than 2 percent of the population.