The Republic of Nauru is one the world’s smallest republic and is within the Micronesia island group.

It has a landmass of just 21 square kilometres and is the second least-populated country with around 10,000 residents.

There were traditionally 12 tribes on Nauru which are today represented in the 12-pointed star on the country’s flag. The British whale hunter John Fearn was the first Westerner to visit the island in 1798, naming it Pleasant Island. The German Empire annexed Nauru in 1888 and it was incorporated into Germany’s Marshall Island Protectorate. Following World War II, Nauru was administered by joint trusteeship by Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom. Nauru became self-governing in 1966 and gained independence in 1968 under founding president Hammer DeRoburt.

The president of Nauru is Baron Waqa who is both head of state and head of the unicameral parliament of 18 members. Members are elected every three years and the parliament elects the president from among these members.

Phosphate was discovered on Nauru in 1900 and reserves were exported for the next century, leaving much of the island a wasteland. The people of Nauru purchased the assets of the British Phosphate Commissioners in 1967 and the resulting income gave Nauruans one of the highest standards of living in the Pacific.

The Australian dollar is the official currency of Nauru. During the 1990s, Nauru was a tax haven and offered passports to foreign nationals for a free.

The Australian refugee detention and processing centre on the island makes up around 20 per cent of the local economy. The centre’s reopening in 2012 has generated both financial gain and regional media attention. A second phase of phosphate mining began in 2005 boosting the struggling economy. Nauru is estimated to have one of the highest unemployment rates in the world.

Media and Communication Landscape

The media and communication environment in Nauru faces challenges due to its scale and size. Find out more in the PACMAS State of the Media and Communication Report: Nauru

Policy and Legislation
• The key organisation is the Nauru Media Bureau, which is government-run.
• Relevant legislation: Wireless Telegraphy Act of 1974.
• No freedom of information legislation.
• Telecommunications have shifted from a state monopoly to a private monopoly.

Media Systems
• There is only one technician for the media bureau.
• Technician training is received primarily from the local telecommunications company.
• The Disaster Risk Management Act was formulated in 2008 and mandates that radio and television are the primary communication vehicles during an emergency or crisis.
• The National Disaster Risk Management Office (NDRMO) was established in 2010.
• The NDRMO is developing a national drill and exploring possibilities for an early warning system such as a siren or PA system.
• The former evacuation centre is currently being used as a camp by the Australian authorities to house refugees; Nauru does not have another evacuation centre.

Capacity Building
• Capacity building of media professionals in Nauru is severely affected by a lack of available funds.
• Training is received from senior staff, but the senior staff have few, if any, opportunities for additional training.
• There are no TVET s in Nauru.
• Participation in media associations (like PINA) has ceased since 2008.

Content
• Nauru is behind other Pacific countries in terms of policy formulation and action on climate change.
• Climate change is included in the Sustainable Development Strategy, with most key documents slated to be drafted in 2012 and signed off in 2015.
• The Nauru Media Bureau reports on climate change but has little training in communication.
• The Nauru Youth Association is involved in awareness campaigns for climate change.
• Nauru has the most high-risk population in the Pacific, with 79.3% of people in the high-risk health category, and relatively high levels of diabetes, hypertension, and high cholesterol, although the rates of diabetes have declined since the 1970s.
• The director of the Public Health Department in Nauru has been very active in delivering a number of NCD programs across Nauru’s 14 District Councils, with budgets for communication plans.

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