|Official Country Name:||Republic of Vanuatu|
|Region (Map name):||Oceania|
|Language(s):||English, French,Bislama (Bichelama)|
Vanuatu is a Y-shaped chain of more than 80 volcanic islands in the South Pacific Ocean between Hawaii and Australia. Seventy of the islands are inhabited, and many boast active volcanoes. Formerly called New Hebrides, Vanuatu was settled by the British and the French in the nineteenth century. In 1906, both countries agreed to a joint administration of the island, which lasted until Vanuatu declared independence in 1980. The population is approximately 190,000. English and French are the official languages, but a pidgin dialect called Bislama or Bichelama is also spoken. The literacy rate is 53 percent. A President serves as chief of state, and a Prime Minister heads the government. The legislature is a unicameral, 52-seat Parliament. Agriculture is the most important sector of the economy, involving 65 percent of the population. Also important are fishing, offshore financial services, and tourism.
The media enjoys freedom of speech and press. In January 2001, however, the editor of the country's largest independent newspaper, the weekly Vanuatu Trading Post, was deported for his investigation of an investment scandal allegedly involving top government officials. In June 2000, the Freedom Telecommunications Law ended the government's 20-year telecommunications monopoly, but the government still owns most of the country'smedia. There is no daily newspaper. In addition to the Vanuatu Trading Post, the other weekly newspaper is the Vanuatu Weekly/Hebdomadaire, which is sponsored bythe government. The Post publishes every Sunday in English and in French. Vanuatu Weekly/Hebdomadaire ap-pears every Saturday. It prints in English, French, and Bislama, and has a circulation of 2,000. The Port Vila Presse is a weekly online newspaper founded in 2000. Itposts news every Sunday. There are also two English-language weeklies sponsored by political parties: Golden Express and Viewpoints.
There are four radio stations, two AM and two FM,broadcasting to 62,000 radios. There is one television station broadcasting to 2,000 televisions. There is one Internet service provider.
"CocoNET Wireless,' The University of Queensland, Australia (1997). Available from http://www.uq.edu.au .
"Country Profile: Vanuatu," BBC News. Available from http://news.bbc.co.uk .
Port Vila Presse. Home Page. Available from www.presse.com .
"Vanuatu," CIA World Fact Book (2001). Availablefrom http://www.cia.gov .
"Vanuatu," Freedom House (2001). Available from http://www.freedomhouse.org .
Jenny B. Davis