|Official Country Name:||Kiribati|
|Region (Map name):||Oceania|
Kiribati (pronounced "Kiribass") is one of the smallest countries in the world. Although it includes some 33 atolls—only twenty of which are inhabited—its total land area is only 264 square miles. The island group, located in Oceania between Australia and Hawaii, was once called the Gilbert Islands and was controlled by Britain. It achieved self-rule in 1971 and, when it declared independence in 1979, it did so under its new name. Kiribati is governed by a President, and the legislative branch consists of a 41-seat unicameral House of Assembly, or Maneaba Ni Maungatabu. The approximate population is 92,000. Natural resources are scarce in Kiribati, as is skilled labor. The most important exports are copra (the white meat of the coconut) and fish. Financial aid from Britain and Japan also supplement the gross national product.
Freedom of speech and of the press is generally respected. There are two main papers in Kiribati, and both are weekly. Te Uekera is a government-owned paper managed and owned by a board that is overseen by a government minister. Its approximate circulation is 1,800. Its competition comes from the country's independent newspaper, The Kiribati Newstar, which debuted in May 2000. It appears on Friday and publishes in the native language with some English content. It is available online. The Catholic Church publishes a monthly newspaper called Te Itoi ni Kiribati, and the Protestant Church produces a weekly newspaper called Kaotan te Ota, but publication is irregular. There are two radio stations, one AM and one FM, for 17,000 radios. There is one television station broadcasting to 1,000 televisions, and TSKL is the island's sole Internet service provider.
"Country Report—Kiribati." Australian Press Council, 2002. Available from http://www.presscouncil.org .
"Kiribati." CIA World Fact Book, 2001. Available from http://www.cia.gov .
"Political Rights and Civil Liberties." Freedom House, 2000. Available from http://www.freedomhouse.org .
Jenny B. Davis