|Official Country Name:||Solomon Islands|
|Region (Map name):||Oceania|
|Language(s):||Melanesian pidgin, English|
The Solomon Islands is located in the South Pacific, east of Papua New Guinea. Far from being remote, the islands lie along the sea routes of the South Pacific Ocean, the Solomon Sea and the Coral Sea, a strategic position bitterly fought over in World War II. A British protectorate since the 1890s, Solomon Islands declared independence in 1978.
Despite the British influence, only 1 to 2 percent of the population speaks English. Most speak a Melanesian pidgin dialect, and there are around 120 indigenous languages. The chief of state is the British monarch, represented locally by an appointed governor general. Heading the government is a prime minister elected by the unicameral National Parliament. The country's economy depends on agriculture, fishing and forestry. Ethnic violence and financial problems prevent the country from capitalizing on its natural resources, which include lead, zinc, nickel and gold.
The press in Solomon Islands is free, and recent governments have acknowledged the importance of a free press to democracy. There is one daily newspaper, The Solomon Star, which has been publishing since 1982. The Solomon Star publishes weekdays in English and has a circulation of around 5,000. The country's other newspaper, the Solomon Express, appears on Friday and its circulation ranges between 1,000 and 2,000. It is sold primarily in the capital city of Honiara. Between 1997 and 1998, three new private weekly papers debuted only to fold for lack of financing.
There are three AM stations serving around 57,000 radios. There are no television stations on the islands, but there are about 3,000 televisions. There is one Internet service provider.
Australian Press Council. "Country Report—Solomon Islands." (2002). Available from http://www.presscouncil.org.au/pcsite/meetings/solomons.html .
Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). "Solomon Islands." The World Fact Book 2001. Available from http://ww.cia.gov/cia/ .
CocoNET Wireless. "Solomon Islands." The University of Queensland, Australia. (1995). Available from http://ww.uq.edu.au/coconet/si.html .
Jenny B. Davis