The Deputy Director of the International Press Institute (I.P.I.), Scott Griffen, touched down at Faleolo International Airport last night.
He is in Samoa as a special guest of the Samoa Observer News Group, which is celebrating its 40th Anniversary at Sheraton Samoa Aggie Grey’s Hotel on Beach Road, tomorrow night.
The Vienna-based I.P.I. – which is a global network of editors, publishers and journalists who defend press freedom – recognised the work of Samoa Observer founder and Editor-in-Chief, Gatoaitele Savea Sano Malifa in 2000 and named him one of its World Press Freedom Heroes.
Speaking to Samoa Observer upon his arrival last night, Mr. Griffen said the long journey from Austria was worth it as it is important for I.P.I. to show its support for its members around the world.
“Savea Sano Malifa is one of our World Press Freedom Heroes named in 2000. He is someone you’d recognise as having played a very important role in press freedom here in the South Pacific,” Mr. Griffen said.
“At this time, press freedom could never be more important. It is always important and always will be important. There are a lot of challenges right now in every part of the world with press freedom.
“There’s backlash, if you want, in many countries including the ones where we take press freedom for granted, like the United States, for example.”
Press freedom is under siege in different parts of the world and Mr Griffen said it is important to continue the fight to protect it.
“And we are losing some good examples of press freedom so it is still important to keep fighting for press freedom everywhere in the world, including here in Samoa to Europe and I.P.I. wants to support those efforts wherever it can.”
Mr. Griffen added that he is looking forward to the 40th anniversary celebrations.
He is also keen to visit the Samoa Observer newspaper to meet its journalists.
Holding a bachelor’s degree in humanities from Yale University and a master’s degree in Global Ethics from King’s College London, Mr. Griffen is the author of numerous I.P.I. reports on diverse topics related to press freedom and independent journalism.
He has led and participated in dozens of I.P.I. press freedom missions around the world.