The Republic of Vanuatu or New Hebrides as known in the condominium days is an archipelago of approximately 83 Islands. It was discovered by the Spanish Explorer Captain, Pedro Fernandex de Quiros in May 1606, and followed by Captain James Cook in 1774. Thereafter, came the French and English missionaries, traders and black birders who took the people as slaves to work in sugar cane plantations in Queensland Australia.
For 74 years, the country was jointly ruled by Britain and France, and in July 30, 1980 received its independence after fighting the two condominium powers for self governance.
Vanuatu is an independent parliamentary democracy, where the 52 members of Parliament are voted into their seat every 4 years. The country is divided into 6 provinces.
The economy is dominated by tourism and agriculture, as over 80 percent of the population are involved in farming.
Media and Communication Landscape
A common challenge in the media and communication landscape in Vanuatu is media coverage and reaching remote communities on the outer islands. Find out more in the PACMAS State of Media and Communication Report 2013: Vanuatu.
Policy and Legislation
• The government broadcaster VBTC administers broadcast licences in Vanuatu.
• Under the Newspaper Act 1982, newspaper owners must be Vanuatu citizens.
• Freedom of expression is guaranteed in the constitution, but there is no specific protection for freedom of media, and threats against journalists are fairly common.
• The Media Association Blong Vanuatu (MAV) has a code of ethics for its members but no mechanism for enforcing its provisions.
• During an emergency, NDMO coordinates communication and works with all existing radio stations including VBTC to get information out.
• There is a national disaster plan drafted that is currently under review. VBTC has no emergency disaster plan.
• TVL, the only landline provider in Vanuatu, has its own in-house procedures in the case of an emergency.
• A major challenge is coverage, upgrading TV and radio services to other provinces, and ensuring that equipment is maintained.
• The Vanuatu Institute of Technology (VIT) in Port Vila offers a two-year Diploma and one-year Certificate course. There are efforts being made to develop a feeder media and communication curriculum for Year 11 and 12.
• While enrolled, it is common for students to undertake internships and develop their industry networks for possible future employment.
• Technicians in Vanuatu either learn on the job or obtain their training overseas.
• The Media Association Blong Vanuatu (MAV) was established in 2006. MAV has an office at the VIT and relies on volunteers.
• Vanuatu has an active meteorology department, which heads the climate change task force; The Vanuatu Association for NGOs does intense work on climate change with its partners.
• Climate change awareness in Vanuatu to date has been done both via mass media and via community based work. Integration of climate change issues into the school curriculum has been started.
• There is a Policy on Non Communicable Diseases (NCDs) but no communication strategy. The government works in partnership with stakeholders in the NGO sector to produce programs on NCDs. Media coverage around NCDs mainly includes news stories of events or publications of reports.
Any opinions represented in the PACMAS State of Media and Communication Report 2013: Vanuatu 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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