27 Dec 2017

No lights for Solomon's broadcaster this festive season

3:04 pm on 27 December 2017

The Solomon Islands Broadcasting Corporation is reportedly struggling to stay on air after the electricity company cut power to the station because of more a than $US8,000 (8,300) unpaid bill.

Its chief executive Ashley Wickham told the Solomon Star newspaper that the national broadcaster's poor financial situation was the direct result of a critical cash-flow problem with the government.

Mr Wickham said he's written a complaint to the Prime Minister and Ministry of Finance about Solomon Power not knowing that the SIBC comes under the essential services act, and that it didn't care about the cash-flow situation the government was facing.

Mr Wickham said the station was now running solely on generators, and its running only its short-wave service which covers the whole country.

He said a live stream overnight service for its international audience is switched off at 11pm local time to allow generators to rest.

Mr Wickham said if the financial situation does not improve, it would firstly look at reducing its short-wave transmission in the early morning and early evening, before beginning any process to lay-off staff.

The SIBC has the furthest reach and the widest audience in rural and remote Solomon Islands' communities and gets a majority of its revenue from government.

Solomon Power said any customer with an outstanding bill will face similar action.