3 Sep 2003

Samoan newspaper owner calls on government for greater freedom of information

5:15 pm on 3 September 2003

A leading media figure in Samoa says the government should clean up laws which stifle freedom of information rather than worry about a code of ethics for the media.

Savea Sano Malifa, the editor-in-chief of the Samoa Observer, says the code of ethics which the prime minister, Tuilaepa Sailele, called for, already exists and the journalists' association keeps a close eye on what goes on.

Savea says there is more of an issue over public opinion being stifled.

"I think if the government really does think seriously about this sort of thing, I think it needs to clean up the laws in Samoa, which tend to stifle press opinion and thought, free thought in this country. For instance, there is a Publishers and Printers Act...This one requires publishers and editors to reveal their sources of information."

Savea says the current administration has been tolerant of the private media in Samoa with Tuilaepa stating that it would be known for its accountability and good governance.

He says he's concerned at this new development because it appears to be an attempt by the government to control all media in the country.