27 Oct 2008

Samoa media concerned by media restrictions

10:46 am on 27 October 2008

The International Federation of Journalists, IFJ, is concerned over media restrictions imposed by a Commission of Inquiry in Samoa into allegations of gun smuggling involving police and customs officials.

The IFJ was responding to a request by the Journalists Association of Samoa JAWS for support in removing the press limitations.

The Commission's chair instructed on the first day of the inquiry last week that while the media can attend the commission hearings, they cannot mention by name the witnesses.

The IFJ says its concerned that controls on the information released to the media, infringes on the rights of the Samoan public to be informed.

The Samoa Observer, the country's only daily newspaper reported on the Commission rules then boycotted the commission proceedings in protest.

The IFJ said guidelines imposed by the Commission on the reporting of the Inquiry into alleged gun smuggling involving the Police Commissioner and others has been criticised.

It also said it is the media's job to report any investigation into alleged unlawful activities of senior officials in the public interest.