Compensation Claims Used to Intimidate Journalists in Solomon Islands

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

wherever possible.

 

          For further information contact IFJ

Asia-Pacific on +612 9333 0919

 

The IFJ

represents more than 600,000 journalists in 131 countries

 

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IFJ on Twitter: @ifjasiapacific

 

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