The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) joins
the Pacific Freedom Forum (PFF) and the Media Association of Solomon Islands
(MASI) in condemning the use of compensation claims to intimidate journalists
in Solomon Islands.
On September 21 ademand for SBD 75,000 (USD 9,300) compensation from
the Island Sun was made by supporters
of West Honiara Member of Parliament Namson Tran.
The compensation demand was reportedly made in response to a story
published in the newspaperwhichreported Tram's
purchase and private registration of his government vehicle. The story quoted Chairman
of the Solomon Islands Public Accounts Committee Matthew Wale referring to Tran
as a “criminal”.
The compensation payment is not related to a civil or criminal case. In
many Melanesian cultures, such as Solomon Islands, requests for
customary compensation play a traditional role in resolving disputes.
However, the IFJ notes MASI’s statement denouncing the compensation
demand as a form of harassment against journalists and media organisations
which is “inappropriate and disrespectful to media freedom in Solomon Islands.”
The compensation demand has since been referred to the Solomon Islands
Police Service for investigation.
“The IFJ calls on Solomon
Islands police to investigate the charges in
a timely manner, and encourages all journalists to report any similar threats
to the authorities,” IFJ Asia-Pacific
Director Jacqueline Park said.
The IFJ reminds government officials that a strong, impartial media is
best achieved through functioning codes of ethics and self-regulation mechanisms
and that disagreements over media conduct should be addressed through these means
For further information contact IFJ
Asia-Pacific on +612 9333 0919
represents more than 600,000 journalists in 131 countries
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