The detainment of Misiona Simo, Photo Journalist for the Samoa Observer, while photographing an incident of public interest, in a public place has been strongly condemned by Samoa Alliance of Media Practitioners for Development (S.A.M.P.O.D.).
The brief detainment and physical forceful handling of Mr. Simo in December 2018 while performing his duties as a Photo Journalist, a right that is protected under the Media Council Act is an appalling affront to media freedom by the Samoa Police Service.
Mr. Simo was forcefully detained without due cause at Togitogiga in December last year, in an area that was not cordoned by the Police.
After he was released, no apology was issued by the Police.
“We condemn the violation of press freedom and call on the Commissioner of Police to take corrective action on the Officers who detained Simo,” S.A.M.P.O.D. said in a statement.
“Freedom of expression and media freedom are essential to democracy, an attack on a member of the fourth estate is a direct attack on democracy itself.”
S.A.M.P.O.D. was founded by media veteran, Rudy Bartley, of W.T. Media. He is also the President of the Journalists Association of (Western) Samoa (J.A.W.S.)
The group has more than 30 media practitioners as members.