23 Apr 2009

Samoa police yet to comment on TVNZ affadavit

3:46 pm on 23 April 2009

A Television New Zealand journalist criticised for a news item on gangs, drugs and gun smuggling in Samoa has provided a sworn affidavit in support of her reporting.

Samoa's Attorney General's office has hired the New Zealand law firm Chapman Tripp following an outcry that the report has tarnished the country's image and will dissuade tourists from visiting.

The journalist, Barbara Dreaver, interviewed alleged gang members who smoked marijuana on camera and handled weapons.

The men have said they were asked to act as though they were gangsters and drug dealers for the film crew.

The Acting Police Commissioner says several individuals who appeared in the news item have issued sworn affidavits alleging they were given alcohol to do what they were instructed to do.

Lilomaiava Fou Taioalo says he won't comment on the affidavit until he has seen it.

Ms Dreaver denies the allegations, saying it would be completely unconscionable and unethical to stage manage material for a story.