PNG police act on FB defamation
Quoting Radio New Zealand – 22 April 2019
“A Papua New Guinea man has appeared in court charged with defamatory publication through postings made on Facebook.
“Turi Kuruwa from Eastern Highlands posted a screenshot with an inserted photo of the West Sepik Governor Antony Wouwou and Felisha Kari with a defamatory statement and posted it the Facebook PNG Happening Today page.
“The newspaper The National reports that Mr Kuruwa told police that it was his freedom to express his views.
“Police alleged that the defamatory post caused emotional distress to the victims and he was detained.
“Mr Kuruwa was formally cautioned and charged with defamatory publication, cyber harassment and cyber bullying under the PNG Cyber Crime Act.
“The Waigani District Court in Port Moresby has released him on bail of $US150.”
Copyright © 2019, Radio New Zealand
Chinese company to build new Vanuatu finance ministry
Quoting Radio New Zealand – 22 April 2019
“A Chinese company has won the tender to build Vanuatu's new Ministry of Finance.
“The Chinese Civil Engineering Construction Company will build the ministry on the site of the The Condominium Building which will be demolished.
“From 1906 to 1979, the building complex had been used by colonial powers to house the Joint British and French Salary Departments of the Joint Colonial Administration of the 83 islands of the New Hebrides.
“The Chinese company has already secured a number of Vanuatu government projects including the first tar sealed roads on Tanna and Malekula, the extension and strengthening of Port Vila International Airport and the current repair and extension of Korman Stadium.”
Copyright @ 2019, Radio New Zealand
21 April 2019
Monitoring of social media chat forums
A Private view
Freedom of speech is not a right to abuse. It is a responsibility.
Freedom of expression is guaranteed to Solomon Islanders in terms of Section 12 of Solomon Islands Constitute although one’s freedom to say what one likes is not absolute when it comes to saying things which could be considered a breach of the criminal law as defined in the statutory provisions of the Penal Code.
A police statement last week saying online chat forums were being monitored by the police for possible breaches of the law could have possibly come as a shock to many users of social chat forums and raised the specter of surveillance akin to what might expect to happen in communist led countries.
The police media statement was carefully worded and a full reading of it should have allayed fears of a Big Brother approach to law enforcement but, nevertheless, there are those, I suspect, who might maintain the monitoring of the social media platforms as an infringement of the right to free speech in a democratic society.
There is a growing trend in law enforcement across the world for what I would term “social media mining.”
Using special social media monitoring software (SMMS) many police organizations, large and small, monitor social media to gain prior information on crime and potential crime and for intelligence gathering generally.
The interesting question, however, is what privacy concerns does it raise?
Some might argue that privacy is essential for political liberty and justice, and for commercial fairness and equity. A lack of privacy can make one less secure.
As witnessed in countries that have oppressive regimes surveillance has had a chilling effect on freedom. People are known to change their behavior when they live under surveillance.
A danger to surveillance is that the fact that the practice could make would-be offenders against the law more secretive and essentially go under-ground.
If that were to occur there would be less chance of detecting what subversive ideas and potentially illegal acts were being planned and then become political causes for disruptive social change.
As I understand the situation in some US States the law requires the law enforcement agency to acquire a search warrant, more specifically a warrant to a wiretap to be able to monitor internet activity but it all depends what kind of agreement exists between the enforcement body and the internet service provider (ISP)
I have no doubt that those who use the social media chat forums in the Solomon Islands without using language contrary to the provisions of the criminal law have nothing to fear from the police monitoring their words and I very much hope the warning given by the police will serve to ensure peace and stability prevails for the good of all.
21 April 2019
Solomon Islands: Reflecting on national growth prospects going forward
I have always considered Easter to be a time for a renewal of faith and the hope for a better world.
It is in the latter context of hoping for things better that I spent some time yesterday reading the report prepared by the World Bank in 2010 which related to the economic growth prospects for the Solomon Islands going forward.
Knowing of the high level of youth unemployment, currently, the burgeoning birth rate, over-urbanisation, the oil spill disaster off Eastern Rennell, the continuing effects of climate change, the decrease in the logging industry and the lack of manufacturing to aid employment, to mention just a few concerns, the strategic vision outlined by the World Bank 9 years ago is still far short of being achieved when it comes to growth prospects.
By quoting a short précis of that now dated report, I hope it will re-focus the attention of the members of the incoming parliament and donor partners to see what challenges remain (and those that have become more manifest like climate change impacts since 2010) and must be met before there can be any meaningful change to sound economic growth for the country.
“Since 2003 Solomon Islands economic growth has been driven by rapid expansion of the forestry sector and large increases in international aid flow. Stocks of natural forest logs are nearing exhaustion, and as the security situation improves, aid flows are likely to flatten.
“Most countries have improved living standards by moving from a reliance on agricultural production towards manufacturing and services, with accompanying urbanization. Geographical disadvantages, combined with weak governance and limited capacity for regulatory and economic policy reform suggest that Solomon Islands’ progress along this trajectory is likely to be highly constrained over the medium term.
“Solomon Islands’ best prospects lie in realizing opportunities in areas where it has an existing advantage, and improving flows of people, resources, and ideas within the country and regionally.
“Future economic growth in Solomon Islands will come from four primary sources:
“A vibrant smallholder agriculture sector. Most Solomon Islanders will continue to rely on smallholder agriculture for incomes and livelihoods. Improving productivity of smallholder agriculture is vital for food security and livelihoods. But even with the best policies, this growth will not be sufficient to provide economic opportunities for all, nor sufficient revenues to enable the Government to meet commitments for service delivery. Alternative sources of growth and revenue are needed.
“Natural resource industries that benefit Solomon Islands. Solomon Islands is well endowed with natural resources, including world class tourism potential, forests and fisheries, gold and nickel. But good outcomes from exploiting these advantages are far from assured. The chances of good outcomes will improve if the right policy and regulatory arrangements are in place to ensure that resource owners gain a fair share of benefits, and that Government is able to capture revenues and spend them equitably on public services.
“An internationally mobile workforce. Growth in the local private sector will not be sufficient to provide jobs for the rapidly growing labor force. For many Solomon Islanders the best prospects for well-paid, productive employment may lie overseas. Closer integration of the Solomon Islands labor market with regional partners is a key objective. Short-term regional labor schemes can lead to remittances and the acquisition of skills that benefit the local economy. In the longer-run, integration would allow Solomon Island workers to make the best use of their skills and partner countries to address growing labor shortages in key sectors.
“International partnerships. Growth from smallholder agriculture, natural resource development and an increasingly international workforce is unlikely to be sufficient to deliver economic opportunities and Government revenues required to meet public expectations on income and service delivery.
“Aid will continue to play a vital role in addressing shortfalls in fiscal resources and capacity across public administration, security, infrastructure, and social services. Solomon Islands faces two challenges.
“The first is to maximize the advantages of economic concentration by planning for integration, both externally and within the country.
“The second challenge is to make development inclusive, by ensuring the benefits of growth are more evenly felt in access to public facilities and services. These two challenges can be addressed by: Building efficient connections between centers of economic activity and to surrounding populations.
“Benefits from sources of growth will be maximized if the cost of movement of people, goods and services are reduced. This will enable people to take up employment opportunities, or to set up businesses supplying ancillary goods and services to growth industries.”
SISBEC expands to Munda
Quoting from the Solomon Star newspaper – 19 April 2019
“The Solomon Islands Small Business Enterprise Centre (SISBEC) has finally opened its doors on Thursday in Munda, Western province.
“A ceremony to declare the official opening of the organisation was attended by numerous individuals including the Deputy Premier and Permanent Secretary of the Western Province,as well as church and community leaders.
“In his speech at the program, Deputy Premier Chris Mesepitu said that this was a step forward for the people in having the accessibility to such training centres to advance business understanding and raise standards in locally owned businesses.
“Mr Mesepitu congratulated and thanked the board of SISBEC for it foresight and wisdom, giving his assurance that the Western Provincial Government is keen to participate and support this initiative.”
Copyright @ 2019, Solomon Star News.