The Federated States of Micronesia is an independent nation in the western Pacific Ocean made up of four states: Yap, Chuuk, Pohnpei and Kosrae. Although the country’s total land mass is quite small, it is made up of around 607 islands across what is also known as Caroline Islands.
The ancestors of the Micronesians originally lived according to a chieftain-based system. Spanish explorers ruled the archipelago as part of the Spanish East Indies from the sixteenth century. Following the Spanish-American War, the group of islands was sold to Germany in 1899. It was conquered by Japan in 1914 and then by the United States in World War II.
The Federated States of Micronesia was formed in 1947 as part of a United Nations Trust Territory under United States administration. Four of the Trust Territory districts ratified a new constitution and formed a government in 1979. The country became a sovereign independent state in 1986 with a Compact of Free Association with the United States.
Today the unicameral Congress has 14 members elected by popular vote including four senators – one from each state. The Congress elects the President (currently Emanuel Mori) and Vice-President from among the four senators.
Economic activity is primarily subsistence farming and fishing. Funding from the US is the primary source of revenue.
Media and Communication Landscape
The media and communication environment in the Federated States of Micronesia faces challenges due to
distances between population centres and linguistic differences. Government, commercial and not-for-profit enterprises all contribute to the communications landscape. Find out more in the PACMAS State of the Media and Communications Report: Federated States of Micronesia
Policy and Legislation
• Communications legislation is broadly based on a US model.
• States are responsible for media legislation and regulation, resulting in uneven development in this area.
• Freedom of speech is guaranteed in the constitution, and freedom of media has not been challenged in
• Telecommunications is regulated nationally; FSM Telecommunications Corporation is the only telecommunications provider.
• There is a shortage of technicians in Pohnpei.
• Technicians in Pohnpei, at the different companies, generally support one another, both formally (for a fee) and informally.
• Technical support is available through US-based companies.
• The Disaster Preparedness Plan has recently been reviewed; the key stakeholders had not yet been briefed on their roles and responsibilities.
• There is no local awareness of an emergency communications or broadcasting plan.
• The national government has recently installed new sirens in Pohnpei; similar systems are planned for the rest of the states.
• There are reports of at least two new media associations being launched in Micronesia with strong links to FSM, though interviewees did not report being part of those groups and regional travel was raised as an issue; one local Catholic media production organisation is supported by a regional Catholic media association.
• The College of Micronesia’s media program has been discontinued due to staff shortages, raising an issue of the sustainability of initiatives that rely on individuals.
• As well as a shortage of employment options for media and journalism students, there are social and cultural issues with young people trained in journalism questioning elders, resulting in the limiting of career options.
• Media and communications practitioners report using the internet to teach themselves new skills.
• Lack of targeted training invitations can result in valuable training opportunities being missed by the most appropriate people within organisations.
• NGO, church and government groups are active content producers on a range of themes.
• Radio staff are seen as not having the capacity to clearly communicate climate change issues.
• There is a lack of connection between media and climate change organisations.
• Currently, NCD communication and awareness activities are not coordinated; there are plans to better
coordinate the different stakeholders.
Any opinions represented in the PACMAS State of Media and Communication Report 2013: Federated States of Micronesia are those of the authors and research participants and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Australian Government or the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.
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