ΒιΆΉΤΌΕΔ

Solomon Islands

Our first project in Solomon Islands supports media and audiences in Honiara and the provinces

In a landmark new project, we have been working with media and journalists across Solomon Islands to support high-quality media based on the editorial standards and principles of the ΒιΆΉΤΌΕΔ. 

Solomon Islands - made up of six large islands and more than 900 small islands - are east of Papua New Guinea and northeast of Australia in the Pacific Ocean. Internet is expensive and rates of access are still relatively low, but expected to grow in coming years; and the small but vibrant media sector faces economic challenges.

But with elections planned in April 2024, it’s more important than ever that the people of Solomon Islands have access to information they can trust and platforms for respectful, constructive discussion and debate. The country is also vulnerable to natural hazards including earthquakes and tsunamis, thanks to its location on the Pacific 'ring of fire', and to the impacts of climate change. 

Since its launch in November 2022, our project has provided training and mentoring with more than 100 journalists, programme producers and presenters of the Solomon Islands Broadcasting Corporation (SIBC) as well as members of the Media Association of Solomon Islands (MASI). 

In spring 2024, we supported the launch of Voice Blo Iu, the country's first audience-led, pre-recorded debate and discussion programme which allowed audiences to ask questions and voice concerns directly to election candidates on issues that matter most to them. The programme is aired on SIBC and streamed on  (link leads to third-party site).

Watch what Lanieta, station manager at Paoa FM, had to say about the project:

Lanieta, station manager for Paoa FM in Solomon Islands, speaks about training from ΒιΆΉΤΌΕΔ Media Action

Working across the country

Working with partners, we have built skills on editorial and production techniques, and conducted thematic training on broadcasting during emergencies, financial reporting and trafficking of women and girls. This includes journalists in the capital, Honiara, as well as in Malaita and Western Province. We have also covered aspects of audience research to help tackle rumours and mis- and disinformation ahead of planned elections.

In April 2023, our media partners were delighted to host UK Foreign Secretary James Cleverly, who met journalists who had participated in our training sessions.

UK Foreign Secretary James Cleverly speaks in studio to a Solomon Islands radio presenter during a visit
Foreign Secretary James Cleverly visits a Solomon Islands Broadcasting Corporation radio studio which has participated in a ΒιΆΉΤΌΕΔ Media Action-led training project. Photo courtesy of FCDO/Simon Dawson

Read .

ΒιΆΉΤΌΕΔ Media Action Acting Regional Director for Asia and Europe, Gemma Hayman, in Honiara to launch the research study, said:

β€œIn all of the countries where we work, we strive to improve access to trustworthy information. As media access grows in Solomon Islands, and the country faces new opportunities and challenges, public interest media are needed more than ever.

β€œWe are pleased with the achievements of our first project in the Pacific. We have been thrilled to work with SIBC and MASI members on targeted editorial and technical training and delighted that our research study has been so well received. We very much hope that these insights will be useful across the Solomon Islands’ media sector and beyond.”

 MASI and SIBC Gizo based reporters and broadcasters in session with trainer.
MASI and SIBC Gizo based reporters and broadcasters in session with trainer. Photo: ΒιΆΉΤΌΕΔ Media Action

We asked some of our trainees their thoughts after the training sessions.

Leilani Mcknini, a participant from SIBC in Gizo, said her highlight was the interview exercise where participants were asked to go out to the streets of Gizo market and conduct an interview – the first time she had conducted face to face interviews.

And Island Sun journalist Ben Bilua, a training participant from Gizo in Western Province, noted the importance of including regional reporters in such trainings.

We have also carried out extensive research to understand the media habits and preferences of Solomon Islanders. Insights from our media and communication ecosystem research study can be found here.

The research included a nationally representative mobile phone survey of more than 1,000 Solomon Islanders aged 18+, implemented by Tebbutt Research. Additional focus group discussions were conducted face-to-face in Honiara and Malaita by Solomon Islands-based research company Dignity Pasifik.

The national survey explored audience media access and use, key issues affecting people in Solomon Islands at a local and national level, and information needs and barriers. Focus group discussions aimed to understand the lives of local people, by drawing community maps and discussing daily life, culture and heritage, their media usage and preferences, how information is shared and perceived, and how issues are affecting people’s lives.

The research is now being used to support the development of targeted media sector growth and capacity building strategies, to ensure underserved audiences in Solomon Islands have improved access to news and information in the future.

The Media Strengthening in Solomon Islands project is funded by the UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office. Read their  launching the project (November 2022 - leads to third-party site).

Read their marking further training (January 2024 - leads to third-party site).

Latest news from the Solomon Islands

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