Samoa Newspaper apologises for photo
Newspaper apologises for publishing an explicit photo after public vilification.
A newspaper at the centre of a storm over its publication of an explicit photograph of an apparent suicide has now printed a fulsome apology.
The Samoan Observer used an image of a fa'afine woman who died in a suspected suicide on its front page.
Police have made no official reports on the woman's death, and have not released her name.
Lucy Smith has more.
The woman was found in a church hall, and the picture published showed her at the scene. The chief editor of the paper Savea Sano Malifa has apologised. In a statement he said the paper has made a sad mistake, and its has apologised to the woman's family in person.
The newspaper has also published the letters of criticism they've received over the use of the photograph. Savea Sano Malifa says it is mainly people overseas who have taken offence over the photo's use.
Savea Sano Malifa: People die all the time. Journalists should go for the truth, and the truth is what we published. Funny thing is that there was very little response to the story here in Samoa. Most of it came from overseas. That was where the criticism came from but here in Samoa it was very little.
The Pacific Island Media Association's Phlesha Brown-Acton says the publication had shown no moral compass by choosing to display such an image.
Phlesha Brown-Acton: Samoa Observer obviously haven't been very helpful in the way they've portrayed an image of a young Fa'afafine transgender woman in Samoa. The reaction that it's caused has been quite a negative one in regards to how her death wasn't respected.
In a written statement Samoa's Prime Minister Tuila'epa Sa'ilele Malielegaoi, added his support to the public outcry.
Tuila'epa Sa'ilele Malielegaoi: Like many others I was appalled at the front page of the Samoa Observer showing a lifeless body of a young person with such callousness and disrespect. What the editor of the Observer has shown to Samoa and the world is that he is above any moral or professional obligation to report ethically and responsibly.
Pacific Freedom Forum's NZ correspondent Jason Brown says it is a case of the media not thinking it through.
Jason Brown: The reporter is ordered to get all the facts, and that's what reporters are paid to do. It's then up to the editor to exercise editorial discussion and show some common decency, and show some ethics and not upset family, friends, and the general public, further in what is already a deeply upsetting incident.
Jason Brown says suicide needs to be discussed rather than avoided but this is a case of a media outlet clearly crossing the line.
The Samoan Observer says it offers its humble apologies to the L.G.B.T community locally and overseas, and says usually the newspaper is a strong supporter of the Fa'afine community.
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