12 Aug 2004

Samoa broadcaster protests at MP

9:54 am on 12 August 2004

Samoa Broadcasting Corporation TV has stopped covering the weekly media conferences held by the opposition Samoa Democratic United Party in protest at an insult they claim was directed at them by an MP.

The SBC Chief Executive Faiesea Lei Sam-Matafeo has written a letter to the Opposition leader Le Mamea Ropati which says unless Valasi Togamaga Tafito apologises in writing to management and staff, coverage by television of the Opposition's conferences will not resume.

The remark that the SBC feels insulted by, was in Samoan and refers to a saying difficult to translate into English.

But it refers to sucking on a breast without rest, alluding to SBC - as it claims - sucking up to government without pause.

However Valasi has told reporters his remark was not directed exclusively at SBC television but at those who know that instructions from ministers and the prime minister were wrong, but still carry them out.