In his nationwide address on Friday, Sogavare made a call on the media to be more responsible and to exercise the required ethics and standards that is expected of them.
The Prime Minister’s message could have been made in light of a news report by Island Sun Newspaper this week claiming police brutality.
He says Solomon Islands is a democratic country and as such is governed by the principles of democracy.
“Freedom of expression is one of the fundamental rights that is provided for under our Constitution. Like all other freedoms and rights provided for in our Constitution they are not absolute except for the non-derogable rights.
"The restriction on freedom of expression in the Emergency Powers (COVID-19) (NO.2) Regulation 2020 which was published in the Gazette on 6th May 2020 are under Regulations 23, 25 and 26. These Regulations were made by His Excellency, the Governor General in the exercise of powers conferred by section 2 of the Emergency Powers Act (Cap. 11)”, Sogavare says.
He says regulation 23 prohibits a person from spreading rumors and false information during the state of public emergency that is likely to create or foster public alarm, anxiety or disaffection or to produce public detriment.
“In short, this Regulation stops people from spreading lies that may cause social disharmony or public alarm and anxiety under the pretext of freedom of expression. The people of this nation deserve to be told the truth. During a state of public emergency when everyone is in an agitated state we must exercise great responsibility in what we say”, the Prime Minister says.
He says under Regulation 14 of the Emergency Powers (COVID-19) (NO.2) Regulation 2020 the power is given to him to suspend access to media outlets under certain circumstances as outlined in that particular Regulation by way of an Order.
“To date despite numerous cases I have not made any Order to that effect”, the Prime Minister says.
The Island Sun newspaper has since apologized to the RSIPF for the article they published on Monday 15th June.