Our commitment to Samoa is imperative

By Gatoaitele Savea Sano Malifa 22 June 2016, 12:00AM

The last few days have been an exhaustingly taxing time – mentally speaking that was – for everyone who’s involved with the production of the Samoa Observer. 

We all know the story. 

It was such a sad one we are not proud to admit, and unfortunately for everyone involved, the angry response shown then from readers here and abroad had been quite telling.

Still, with the publication yesterday of the apology by the Samoa Observer, we believe the way forward from now, would once again be paved with peace.

We believe Prime Minister, Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi, played a pivotal role. 

He helped. 

He showed up in the form of a press statement, where he wrote: “Like many others, I was appalled at the front page of the Sunday Observer, showing the lifeless body of a young person with such callousness and disrespect.  

“As a parent, it was devastating to see someone’s child, portrayed in such a heartless manner.”

Now we can feel his pain.

He said: “The decision by the newspaper’s editor to share this image is one that raises many red flags and questions about the ethics and responsibility of the press.  Like other democracies, our Government acknowledges and encourages freedom of the press.”

He is right.

He also said: “Local media practitioners operate as they see fit, and for a long time an informal system of checks and balances have more or less ensured that news coverage is reflective of our cultural and Christian values.”

We agree.  

“However,” he said, “from time to time, there have been serious breaches of journalism ethics, and there is a clear disregard by some media outlets for fair and balanced reporting.”

He then wrote: “For several years now, Government has been encouraging the local media industry to establish a regulating body to address issues of journalism ethics and standards.” 

We remember.

“Last year,” he reminded, “Parliament passed the Media Council Act – legislating for this need to raise standards and ensure media practitioners adhere to their own code of ethics and best practice.

“Although it has not yet been established, it is important to note that the Media Council will rely heavily on the Journalists Association of Samoa (JAWS), as the Act itself was formulated entirely through consultations with local media practitioners, and it is based upon the organization’s code of ethics.”  

We also remember.

Still, even though we may disagree with some of his views pertainining to media regulating policies he has been proposing, we believe totally in freedom of expression and the public’s right to know, what their government is doing from time to time.

Now having said all that, we maintain that the Samoa Observer will continue to play its role of serving Samoa, as it has been doing over the last thirty eight years.  

Part of its service will now include a partership with Fa’ataua o le Ola, to promote awareness  and “Working Towards a Suicide Free Samoa”. (Working towards a suicide free Samoa.)

Lastly, we want to say the turmoil that started a week ago with the passing away of Jeanine Tuivaiki, has made such a profound impact in all of us here, so that our commitment to the need to maintain our life as an independent, free country founded on God, is imperative.

By Gatoaitele Savea Sano Malifa 22 June 2016, 12:00AM

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