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Mapping the Information Environment in the Pacific Island Countries: Disruptors, Deficits, and Decisions

Lauren DickeyErica DownsAndrew TafferHeidi Holzwith Drew Thompson,S. Bilal HyderRyan LoomisAnthony Miller
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This report provides a general map of the information environment of the Pacific Island Countries (PICs). The focus of the report is on the information environment—that is, the aggregate of individuals, organizations, and systems that play a key role in shaping opinions through the dissemination of news and information—in the PICs. In this report we undertake the following:

  • Examine how these countries consume information.
  • Map the general characteristics of the information environment in the region to include key actors and the ownership structure of key media outlets.
  • Highlight trends that make the information environment in the PICs particularly dynamic.
  • Identify factors that may contribute to the resilience or vulnerability of the information environments in the PICs.
  • Identify issues likely to shape the region’s future information environment and the role of external actors.
  • Highlight steps traditional partners could take to help enhance the PICs’ ability to retain autonomy in their information domains.

This report provides a current overview of how various groups and publics throughout the region consume information in the PICs. This overview can serve as a baseline for assessing the extent to which the PICs are at risk to adversarial state-sponsored propaganda, disinformation, or other influence activities.

Key findings

The information environment in the PICs is unique in its extraordinary diversity.

  • The remote and disparate geography of the PICs results in highly varied access to basic infrastructure, including electricity and the internet.
  • The socio-cultural diversity of the region creates wide variation in how people consume information. Residents of the region speak 24 official languages and thousands of indigenous or unofficial local languages.

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Approved for public release: distribution unlimited.

Cooperative Agreement/Grant Award Number: SGECPD18CA0027.

This project has been supported by funding from the U.S. Department of State.

Details

  • Pages: 114
  • Document Number: IRM-2019-U-019755-Final
  • Publication Date: 12/10/2019
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