The Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI) is made up of five islands and 29 atolls.  The Islands were explored by the Spanish in the 16th Century and were purchased by Germany in 1899.  Japan took over in 1914, and in 1945, RMI become part of the U.S Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands under the United Nations Trusteeship.

RMI is an independent country in a Compact of Free Association with the United States.  Under the Compact, the country is sovereign in domestic and foreign affairs, whilst the responsibilities of defence are with the United States.

It has a semi-Westminster style constitution with a Parliament or Nitijela comprising 33 members elected to serve a four-year term.  The Head of State is the President who is elected from the Nitijela, and then appoints a cabinet from its members.  The Constitution recognises the country’s High Chiefs and has established an advisory council of the High Chiefs called the Council of Iroij.

The RMI government  receives eighty percent of its revenue directly or indirectly from US Grants.  The productive sectors that the economy is dependent on are fisheries, copra, handicrafts and subsistence agriculture.

Media and Communication Landscape

Together with an active civil society, the media and communication environment in Marshall Islands is dynamic, but faces challenges caused by scale and its dispersed audiences. Find out more in the PACMAS State of the Media and Communication Report: Marshall Islands

Policy and Legislation
• The Ministry of Transportation and Communication is responsible for registering broadcasting stations.
• Freedom of speech and the press are guaranteed in the Bill of Rights.
• There is no media self-regulating body, and no media association.
• There is no FOI legislation.
• Telecommunications are currently a monopoly but the government is working with the World Bank to open the market to competition.

Media Systems
• Technicians primarily use personal and professional networks for assistance. Equipment providers are also a source of advice.
• NTA is a member of PITA and ITU.
• The National Disaster Management Plan is currently under review.
• There is a lack of clarity of the roles and responsibilities in a disaster, and a perceived lack of political will.
• Some available communication technologies are not being integrated.

Capacity Building
• NGOs have been able to access limited opportunities for media and communications training.
• Most technicians are trained on the job.
• There is no local media association.
• There are no local TVET courses relating to media and communication.

Content
• Radio remains an important platform in the Marshall Islands.
• WUTMI is a significant contributor of C4D content.
• Several NGOs are active advocates regarding climate change.
• Government departments and NGOs use radio for NCD communication.

Any opinions represented in the PACMAS State of Media and Communication Report 2013: Marshall Islands 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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