The Republic of Palau is located in the western Pacific Ocean and geographically part of the island group of Micronesia. It is made up of more than 250 islands.

The islands were conquered by Spain and ruled as part of the Spanish East Indies from 1885 before being sold to Germany in 1899 and ruled as German New Guinea. Palau was then conquered by Japan during World War I and ruled according to Japan’s League of Nations mandate – the South Pacific Mandate. After World War II, Palau was governed as a trust territory of United States. The country gained full sovereignty in 1994 and currently has a Compact of Free Association (COFA) with the United States. Under the association the United States provides funding in exchange for defence authority.

Palau is a presidential republic with the executive branch made up of the President, Vice-President (currently Thomas Remengesau) and the Council of Chiefs. Nationwide elections select its National Congress made up of a House of 16 Delegates (one from each state) and 13 Senate members.

The economy is reliant on tourism, subsistence agriculture and fishing. The government is the main employer of the country’s workforce and is reliant on funding from the United States.

Media and Communication Landscape

The media and communication environment in Palau is diverse and dynamic relative to its size, with considerable opportunities to support and grow systems and capacities across the component areas. Find out more in the PACMAS State of Media and Communication Report 2013: Palau.

Policy and Legislation
• The Communications Division within the Ministry of Public Infrastructure, Industries and Commerce is responsible for licensing and regulation of the communications industry, including licensing and handling complaints.
• Freedom of media is guaranteed in the constitution and is generally respected in practice.
• Media outlets use a range of international codes of ethics.
• Telecommunications is open to local investment; foreign investment is more regulated.

Media Systems
• Local technical capacity is limited.
• Palau has an updated National Disaster Risk Management Framework.
• Several problems were noted in relation to the current procedures for the early warning system which lead to uneven and delayed distributions of emergency information.

Capacity Building
• There are currently no local training institution offering media and communications courses.
• Most journalists in Palau work part-time in other professions. Few have qualifications in media and communications.
• Interviewees stated a preference for basic training in journalism, rather than issues-specific training.
• There is no local media association.

Content
• Palau has not yet developed key climate change policies and plans.
• Interviewees suggest there is some information fatigue in relation to climate change issues.
• The identified challenges to climate change reporting are finding new ways to report on the issue, and its inaccessibility to the population due to difficulties with translating key terms.
• Palau has declared a State of Emergency in relation to the NCD epidemic.
• The key challenges to NCD reporting are weak links between media and health agencies, dry reporting formats, and irregular coverage which usually follows funding allocations.

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