The Republic of Kiribati is a group of 33 islands, mostly atolls, of which 20 are inhabited. Kiribati and Tuvalu were formally joined as the Gilbert and Ellice Islands Colony.
Spanish explorers sighted some of the islands in the 16th century, however it was not until the 19th century when the islands were charted.
Kiribati is a republic and has a president that chooses up to 10 cabinet ministers from the House of Assembly known as Maneabani Maungatabu. The House of Assembly has 42 Members.
Until 1979, Kiribati’s economy depended heavily on the export of phosphate rock. Before the cessation of mining, a large reserve was accumulated and the interest now contributes to government revenue. Other revenue earners are copra, license fees from foreign fishing fleets, and commercial seaweed farming.
Media and Communication Landscape
The media and communication environment in Kiribati faces challenges on many fronts. Find out more in the PACMAS State of Media and Communication Report: Kiribati
Policy and Legislation
• The Ministry of Communication, Transport and Tourism Development (MCTTD) is responsible for regulation of media and telecommunications. Within the MCTTD the Broadcasting and Publications Authority (BPA ) is responsible for public service media.
• The Kiribati government has used licensing laws to control the media and media professionals.
• The Telecommunications Act of 2004 allows for competition but so far services are provided by a governmentowned monopoly.
• There is some informal cooperation among technicians in Kiribati across government media,
telecommunications and church media.
• There is a lack of funding to fix major technical faults, and this has led to the shutdown of radio services for several months at a time in the past.
• The current Disaster Management Plan is not comprehensive and requires further development, especially in relation to communications.
• Few journalists, technicians and other media staff have formal qualifications.
• In-house training is preferred due to costs and access.
• The government does have a process for applying for funding for training.
• The national media association, Kiribati Islands Media Association (KIMA), was recently revived, but journalists don’t have confidence that they would be supported if they were pressured by the government.
• Churches, NGOs and government departments produce content for mass media, though skills and fees are
a concern for some.
• There is some ‘message fatigue’ in relation to climate change issues.
• Many people are not receptive to messages about climate change due to the conflict between science and their religious beliefs.
• There are some basic campaigns and promotional activities addressing NCD related issues.
Any opinions represented in the PACMAS State of Media and Communication Report 2013: Kiribati 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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