24 Jun 2013

Samoan Parliamentary speaker threatens newspaper after reports

8:07 am on 24 June 2013

Threats to ban the media from the Samoa Parliament have escalated, as the speaker of the house accused a newspaper of misrepresentation.

The Samoa Observer reports the speaker La'auli Leuatea Polata'ivao attacked a report of an angry exchange between Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sa'ilele Malielegaoi and deputy Tautua Samoa Party leader, A'eau Peniamina Leavai.

Tuilaepa had accused A'eau of being drunk in Parliament and the member responded by calling the Prime Minister a stupid old man.

The exchange was reported and the speaker could not say where the article was inaccurate. The Weekend Observer had a recording of the Radio broadcast.

La'auli threatened action against the paper, with an ordinance that provides for 6 months imprisonment and fines for publishing offences.

He said the media should only use officially approved transcripts from the parliamentary Hansard section, but the media says requests for copies of Hansard have been turned down.