NEW SOLOMON ISLANDS LEADERSHIP CODE BILL CRITICIZED

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HONIARA, Solomon Islands (May 21, 1999 – Radio Australia)---A new Leadership Code bill approved yesterday by the Solomon Island's National Parliament restricts leaders from releasing unofficial information to the media.

Radio Australia correspondent George Atkins reports:

"The Bill stipulates that leaders who for personal gain or advantage disclose information they obtained in their official capacity will be guilty of misconduct in office. But the restriction does not apply to officially released information.

"The restriction, however, is likely to have an impact on current good relations between the media, the Government and its statutory organizations.

"The Media Association of the Solomon Islands says it views this piece of legislation as not in line with the current government's transparency policy. The Association says the legislation will also slow down the passing of information to the general public, which is not good for the Solomon Islands

"George Atkins, Honiara."

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