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7 August 2013

AUDIO: Samoa PM says 'no interference' in media council

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Prime Minister of Samoa Tuilaepa Sailele says a lot of "erroneous reporting and misprintings" in the media have been deliberate. Image: Wikipedia

SYDNEY (ABC Radio Australia / Pacific Media Watch): Samoa's Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele has rejected claims that the government is interfering with a proposed media council.

“The Opposition is unaware of the real issues,” he said in an interview with Radio Australia’s Pacific Beat programme.

Last year the Samoa Law Reform Commission recommended a two-year period for the media to establish its own organisation to regulate the conduct of its members.

The Samoan government said it is attempting to push through the regulatory body as soon as possible to address ongoing concerns about poor standards and ethics among media professionals.

But Opposition Leader Palusalue Fa'apo II says Samoa is getting closer to the situation in Fiji, where freedom of speech is limited.

This prompted Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele to say that it “was best if you kept quiet and just zipped it,” referring to Opposition Leader Palusalue Fa’apo II.

“But you choose to open your lips. Now the whole world know how uninformed you are.”

Taking action
Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele told Radio Australia's Bruce Hill that the Samoan Government is simply taking action after years of delay.

"I think the Opposition has been led astray by various subjective comments from the editor of the [Samoa] Observer newspaper which is the most outspoken on the issue.

In fact, we had some discussions about 10 years ago with consultants who were arranging to look into the formation of a council. And we all agreed that such a body should be formed.

Ten years have disappeared and nothing has happened - this is largely due to the very disorganised media in Samoa."

According to the Prime Minister, there is an “urgent need” to establish a media council.

“There has been a lot of erroneous reporting you might have seen over the last two months a lot of apologies after apologies after apologies have been made by the [Samoa] Observer for wrongly reporting issues.

We know that those misprinting have been deliberate in order to sell the newspaper, so on the side of government, we decide to have the media council established.”

Listen to the full interview

Media council in the works following threats from Speaker

PM scoffs at Opposition Leader’s Fiji media freedom link

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