3 February 1999


Council tries to stop reports on Solomon Islands ethnic tension

Incident details


(PINA/IFEX) - The provincial assembly caucus on the main island of Solomon
Islands, Guadalcanal, is trying to stop reporting of statements about
growing ethnic tension on the island. It asked the national government
minister responsible for the media to ban further statements on the unrest,
Solomon Islands Broadcasting Corporation reported on 2 February 1999.

The caucus says the media ban would include statements from the police
commissioner. However, Police Commissioner Frank Short told the national
radio service he will not be stopped from presenting the truth about the
situation. Short says he would not accept such a ban because he believes in
openness and transparency. He says the police are accountable to the people
who need to know what is taking place, Solomon Islands Broadcasting
Corporation reported.

Background Information

The ethnic tension exists between people from Guadalcanal island, where the
capital Honiara is located, and people from other islands, who have settled
on Guadalcanal. Guadalcanal is the island which features in the new World
War Two movie "The Thin Red Line." Honiara became the capital of the then
British Solomon Islands after Word War Two, growing from a base and port
United States forces built there during the battle for Guadalcanal. Two
people have been killed in incidents linked to the recent tension. It came
after Guadacanal provincial leaders made compensation demands, and
threatened to block people from other provinces from owning land on
Guadalcanal. The regional news magazine "Islands Business" reported in its
latest issue that people from another major island, Malaita, have come to
dominate government jobs, business and industry on Guadalcanal.


Pacific Islands News Association
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Fax:+679 3317055
Solomon Islands
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