P.M. threatens to ban Facebook
Prime Minister Tuilaepa Dr. Sa’ilele Maleilegaoi has threatened to ban social media platforms from Samoa completely.
That will happen if “gutless anonymous bloggers” continue to use the freedom social media affords them to abuse Government officials and innocent members of the public.
“The Government will do what it takes to settle this matter once and for all, even if it means banning Facebook,” Tuilaepa said.
“Most governments have banned Facebook, and we have been holding back because of the positive impact of social media.”
Tuilaepa issued the warning during his weekly media conference.
He said the Government has had enough of faceless ghosts who use sites such as Facebook to post defamatory claims against unsuspecting victims.
Tuilaepa said these faceless writers have been posting countless allegations including extra marital affairs, corruption and sensitive details about public figures, their families and their children.
“Because its all based on lies, those affected are government leaders,” he said.
“Those behind the social media posts are driven by the devil, their hearts are filled with hatred and I’m certain they don’t rest at night as they continue to make up fabrications.”
Tuilaepa added that these writers have gone as far as to level allegations against Church Ministers.
“If the allegations are true, they would have been published in the Samoa Observer. It then allows us the opportunity to sue them and find out the accuracy of the allegations.”
“Only gutless people would such a thing and make up these stories. Maybe their parents did this as well.”
He said other lies posted involve parents having sexual intercourse with their children.
Tuilaepa said he has an inkling about whom they are and they would eventually be caught.
He warned that once they are found, they “could be dead” in two days given the hatred they have provoked.
Tuilaepa said he has some names but does not want to say them yet because “bullets will be fired” and that’s what he doesn’t want.
“So I advise them not to play with fire. I want them to know that no matter where you hide, you will be caught.”
According to the Prime Minister the only reason the government is delaying the move to ban Facebook is because there are numerous people who utilize this site for the right reasons.
He said the Tui Samoa Cable was established for the betterment of services and connection to the outside world but this is the negative impact.
“The Country is in turmoil due to these unfounded allegations.”
According to the Prime Minister, the former Prime Minister Tofilau Alesana Eti in the past sued the Samoa Observer for a story it published.
The case ended up in Court and the claim reached a million tala. If the faceless writers were found, they would the same fate.
“When it comes to seeking the truth, the government will do whatever it takes to get to the truth. That is why I have instructed the Attorney General that even if it reaches millions, he needs to do it."
Attorney General Lemalu Hermann Retzlaff confirmed the Police are investigating who are behind the social media posts.
“I am informed that as per the normal procedure, the Police Commissioner is fully briefed and has assigned a team to undertake an investigation."
“We await the outcome of that, before we can formally advise in any way as to a way forward. I cannot otherwise comment at this stage,” said Lemalu.