Genuine efforts to voluntarily help the Solomon Islands being frustrated by scammers and an abuse of a free press

Genuine efforts to voluntarily help the Solomon Islands being frustrated by scammers and an abuse of a free press

Posted by : Frank Short Posted on : 27-Sep-2023
Genuine efforts to voluntarily help the Solomon Islands being frustrated by scammers and an abuse of a free press

27 September, 2023

After more than 27 years of trying to remain a good friend of the Solomon Islands by providing substantial medical equipment and supplies in previous years with the assistance of my charity partner, 'Take My Hands, based in New Zealand, by Lions Clubs also in New Zealand and locally by the Board of the Solomon Islands Forestry Association, my current and still on ongoing efforts to aid medical services, despite my serious terminal health issues and physical disability have been hampered, but not yet curtailed at 85 yrs, by many scamming attempts by international fraudsters who guaranteed to aid the Solomon Islands with financial donations, but all proved to be untrustworthy.

My illness saw a change in the way I wrote my letters to Solomon's media, shifting much focus to health issues and medical research in the hope the MHMS might find the international response to health concerns affecting the lives of local people educational and of practical help, instances on new treatment approaches to non-communicable diseases, including diabetes, cancer, heart and lung diseases in particular.

Posts of mine of a similar nature and content have been banned from the Solomon Star Facebook page and in my personal opinion contrary to the rights of a free press provided for in the SI Constitution.

When examining why my truthful posts have been banned by the Solomon Star newspaper, I am not fooled by the fact that the Solomon Star last November promised China positive coverage in exchange for funding.

Why my genuine articles on medical health matters internationally and steps being taken to educate and improve health education should be considered less than "positive coverage" by the CPC and contrary to the rights of a free press, concerns me.

In relation to the Solomon Star newspaper having received funding from China for positive coverage in its daily newspaper, I quote what Stephen Wright wrote last November in the publication 'Banar News.'


A Solomon Islands news company (the Solomon Star) was granted more than U.S.$130,000 by the Chinese government in exchange for agreeing to “promote the truth about China’s generosity and its true intention to help develop” the Pacific Island country, a funding document and email reviewed by RFA-affiliated news organization Benar News shows.

The July 2022 funding proposal from the owners of the Solomon Star newspaper and its Paoa FM radio station to the Chinese embassy says a partnership will benefit Beijing by “promoting China as the most generous and trusted development partner in Solomon Islands.”

The pay-for-play arrangement was first reported Sunday by the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project, which is funded by nonprofit foundations and government agencies. It says its Pacific reporting is funded by a no-strings attached U.S. government grant.  

The documents reviewed by BenarNews provide specific details of what was an open secret in some circles in the Solomon Islands about largesse from China’s embassy directed at the country’s media. The Solomon Star is one of two main newspapers in the Solomon Islands.

The funding document said the Lamani family-owned Solomon Star approached the Chinese embassy in 2021 about financial assistance and the embassy agreed to provide about U.S.$41,000. 

The agreed funding was increased in June 2022 to about U.S.$133,000 based on a “new Project format” provided by the embassy, it said.

The media outlet’s finances were battered by the COVID-19 pandemic, forcing it to sack half of its 100 staff, and an aging printing press meant it was sometimes unable to print its editions on time, according to the document. 

It expressed concern about delays in getting the funds for new printing equipment, which meant the “intent of our mutual partnership to inform, educate and entertain the people of Solomon Islands about China and its development marvels has suffered as well.” 

The paper prints 6,000 copies daily and estimated readership to be double that.

The Solomon Islands has been China’s highest profile success in building influence among Pacific Island countries in recent years. 

Source -BenarNews is an RFA-affiliated online news organization.

Yours sincerely

Frank Short

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