31 Mar 2020

Solomons officials face sack if critical of Covid-19 response

5:28 pm on 31 March 2020

The Ministry of Health in Solomon Islands has sent out a memo threatening "termination with immediate effect" for staff who post comments online criticising the government's Covid-19 response.

The memo, dated 31 March 2020, and signed and stamped by the Permanent Secretary of Health Pauline McNeil, said social media discussion could be interpreted in many different ways and could be detrimental to preparedness efforts.

It said the ministry would not tolerate staff posting or engaging in social media discussions related to its Covid-19 response.

It said the regulations were included under the State of Public Emergency declaration made last week and applied to all public servants.

The regulation was covered under Part 5 regulation 26 of the State of Public Emergency declaration.

It forbade public officers from publishing any information or statement that disputed government publications or announcements on Covid-19 or was considered 'inflammatory against the government", incited hatred or contempt against the government and which might result in a threat to public safety.

The last bullet point in the memo reads, " Non-compliance - termination with immediate effect".

Copy of memo from Solomon Islands Permanent Secretary

Copy of memo from Solomon Islands Permanent Secretary Photo: supplied