Kiribati Political Orientation
Government Type: Presidential Republic
Leader: President Taneti Maamau (since 2016)
Political Party: Tobwaan Kiribati Party
Political Position: Right-Center – Political parties behave more like casual coalitions without formal platforms or structures, with most candidates identifying as independents
MBFC’s Country Freedom Rating: 91.00 – Excellent
World Press Freedom Rank: Unrated
Kiribati, a democratic nation classified as Free by Freedom House’s 2023 report, upholds civil liberties, but issues like a ban on same-sex relationships and gender discrimination persist. However, despite the ban, there have been no reports of prosecutions.
Media Ownership and Government Analysis
Kiribati (Formerly the Gilbert Islands) comprises 33 coral atolls, ring-shaped islands with central lagoons consisting of three groups: the Gilbert, Phoenix, and Line Islands. According to Doctors Without Borders, the country is confronting severe health issues and environmental threats due to high disease rates, overpopulation, and the impacts of climate change. The majority of the population identifies as Catholic.
Another issue the country faces is foreign influence; for example, President Taneti Maamau has recently suspended five foreign judges, including the Chief Justice (husband of the opposition leader), in what some view as a move to assert national sovereignty and lessen foreign influence, a holdover from colonial times. Lastly, in 2019, Kiribati switched its diplomatic allegiance from Taiwan to China, adhering to the “One China” policy, which asserts Taiwan as part of China, a move praised by China’s President Xi Jinping and reaffirmed by Kiribati’s President Taneti Maamau.
According to the BBC, Kiribati’s media landscape includes the government-owned weekly Te Uekera, the private weekly Kiribati Newstar, the state-run Radio Kiribati, and a private FM station, Newair. The government controls the radio and newspapers, which might not offer diverse views. There are also Church newsletters that are important for the population. Currently, The country doesn’t have its own TV service as the state-owned TV Kiribati has been shut down by the government due to financial problems and a lack of expertise and knowledge in programming and production.
Although the country is free, the majority of the media is controlled by the Government, which lacks plurality and a diversity of viewpoints.
Last Updated on June 1, 2023 by Media Bias Fact Check
Do you appreciate our work? Please consider one of the following ways to sustain us.