Yesterday, the Opposition Leader in the Solomon Islands. Matthew Wale, when addressing Parliament during the debate on the state of public emergency declared by the Governor general said, “Solomon Islands is still a democracy even in a state of emergency so that all who exercise emergency powers must do so in accordance with the democratic values and ideals we hold dear.”
Mr Wale also said, “Any regulations decision and or action taken that do not preserve public security or are not necessary to the protection from importation into and the spread of coronavirus (Covid-19) in the Solomon Islands would be outside the scope of the emergency declaration under section 16 of the constitution.”
Solomon Islands has a free press and values the rights of its citizens to express views openly, but in the exercise of such rights there are occasions when, in times of public emergency, and war time was a classic example, the spreading of false stories can be punished in the interest of national security.
The Prime Minister has repeatedly called for those in the Solomon Islands that have allegedly made false stories to stop their actions or face the consequences provided by the provisions contained in the Penal Code and in the regulations that form part of the Declaration of Public Emergency,
The fight against coronavirus is a common fight against an invisible but deadly enemy and now is a time for all to work together and I hope that the call will be heeded and there will be no more reports of false reporting and rumour mongering.