22 February 1999


Marianas discusses

Incident details


(PINA/IFEX) - A House of Representatives committee in the Commonwealth
of the Northern Marianas Islands has recommended taking "no further
action" on a plan to call for a public boycott of the "Washington Post"
newspaper and "Reader's Digest" magazine. The Northern Marianas is a
chain of seventeen self-governing islands in the North Pacific that is
in union with the United States of America.

According to the "Marianas Variety and News" of 11 February 1999, the
House Committee on Health, Education, and Welfare discussed a resolution
urging a boycott of publications that carry "negative" articles about
the Northern Marianas "without supporting evidence and substantiated
reporting." It specifically cited the "Washington Post" and "Reader's
Digest". In its report, the committee said that although the resolution
is "well intentioned", it would not help diplomatically to show that the
Northern Marianas is not what these publications portray it as.

The resolution said reporting in the "Washington Post" and "Reader's
Digest" had created a bad impression and "ugly name" for the Northern
Marianas and its people. It had affected the relationship with the
federal government in Washington, the resolution said.

Background Information

The USA invaded and occupied the Japanese-ruled Northern Marianas in
World War Two. After the war, the islands became part of the United
States Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands. In 1975, the people voted
to become a commonwealth of the USA rather than an independent nation.

According to the regional news magazine "Islands Business", the islands
are heavily reliant on Asian tourists and a mainly mainland
Chinese-controlled garment industry set up to take advantage of access
Marianas products have to the USA market. But "Islands Business" said
many garment factories are criticised as being sweatshops using and
abusing workers imported from China and the Philippines. It said USA
federal authorities are now insisting the factories "clean up their act"
and pay minimum wages specified by law. The situation has recently been
highlighted in mainland USA news media.


Pacific Islands News Association
Level 2, 46 Gordon Street, Damodar Centre
Private Mail Bag, Suva
Fiji Islands
pina (@) connect.com.fj
Phone: +679 3303623
Fax: +679 3317055
More from Asia & Pacific


  • The Campaign for Justice: Press Freedom in South Asia 2013-14

    Journalism in South Asia is far from an easy profession, as the 12th annual review of journalism in the region "The Campaign for Justice: Press Freedom in South Asia 2013-14" portrays. But this year's report also tells the story of the courage of South Asia's journalists to defend press freedom and to ensure citizens' right to information and freedom of expression in the face of increasing challenges to the profession and personal safety.

  • THE STORIES WOMEN JOURNALISTS TELL: Women in Media in South Asia

    The report is the first created by the South Asia Media Solidarity Network (SAMSN) looking specifically at the experience of women journalists in the South Asia sub-region