Solomon Islands or Islas De Solomόn is an archipelago of 992 Islands. It was first discovered by the Spanish explorer Alvero De Mendana de Neira, in 1568. However, it was not until the late 18th century that French and English navigators confirmed Mendana’s reported discoveries and Solomon Islands was accurately charted. This was then followed by the arrival of missionaries and black birders who seized the Solomon Islanders to work in plantations in Fiji and Queensland.
In 1886, the Solomon Islands were divided between Germany and Britain, where in 1899 Germany with interest in other Pacific Islands and parts of Africa, transferred the northern Islands to Britain, which already claimed the southern part. The British Solomon Islands Protectorate was declared in 1893, and colonial rule began in 1896.
The country was formally renamed Solomon Islands in 1975 and attained independence on July 7, 1978. It is a parliamentary democracy and a Commonwealth realm, that is, the chief of state is the Queen of England, represented by the Governor General, and Parliament consists of 50 seats elected to serve four-year terms.
The economic growth depends largely on logging and timber exports, although 75% of the work-force is engaged in subsistence farming and fishing, as most of the population live in rural communities.
Media and Communication Environment
The Solomon Islands media sector is dominated by radio and print. The relative absence of online and mobile media use is notable compared to other Pacific Island countries. More information in the PACMAS State of Media and Communication Report 2013: Solomon Islands.
Policy and Legislation
• Media legislation includes the Broadcasting Act 1976, the Television (Amendment) Act 1996, the Telecommunications Act 2009 and the draft Solomon Islands Broadcasting Corporation Bill 2003.
• Freedom of speech, and freedom of the press are guaranteed through the Solomon Islands Constitution (Article 12).
• The Media Association of Solomon Islands (MASI) has been developing a code of conduct for journalists and media practitioners.
• Telecoms are governed under the Telecommunications Act 1972, under which the Ministry of Post and Communications is the regulatory authority.
• There is limited training for media and communications technicians, especially for engineering and transmission work.
• The Solomon Islands Media Assistance Scheme (SOLMAS) was noted as a support and advice network for media organisations and individuals.
• Media technical staff sit on the National Disaster Emergency Authority Committee and broadcasters are Critical Infrastructure Agencies in disasters.
• The Hyogo Progress Report states that there is currently insufficient knowledge and awareness in regard to disaster response roles and responsibilities. Not enough resources are allocated to implement the National Plan at the provincial and community level.
• The Solomon Islands National University has a two year certificate program in media/journalism studies (for entry-level only) .
• Don Bosco Technical Centre offers weekend high school programs, or tailor made courses to media workers from organisations.
• Professional training has largely been done through the Solomon Islands Media Assistance Scheme (SOLMAS), or on-the-job.
• The Pacific Adaption to Climate Change Project on Solomon Islands is creating its own communication guidelines covering medium, target audience and content.
• Some journalists have received training on climate change reporting.
• NCDs are specifically noted in the National Health Strategic Plan and the Health Department has a fully equipped Media Unit that produces health materials. According to the Unit, the HIV/AIDS Division is the most proactive compared to others.
Any opinions represented in the PACMAS State of Media and Communication Report 2013: Solomon 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.