Press freedom in Samoa "alive and well" – P.M. Tuilaepa
Prime Minister Tuilaepa Dr. Sa'ilele Malielegaoi has commended the Samoan media for their work.
He offered the acknowledgement as Samoa joins the world to celebrate World Press Freedom Day on 3 May 2019.
Speaking during his weekly programme, Tuilaepa said press freedom is alive and well in Samoa.
“Journalists in Samoa have the freedom to do their job and you should be jumping for joy and sing hallelujah that the Samoa Government understands the role of the media," Tuilaepa said.
“You have the freedom to conduct your duties and write your article, which I find that sometimes are stupid."
Tuilaepa also touched on the issue of social media.
“You do stupid things and no one stops you. I am singled out on O.L.P, I know who those guys are. They are former Members of Parliament, they say some of the most disgraceful things about me. Has the Government done anything about it? No, you are free to do whatever."
The Prime Minister did not name anyone in particular in relation to O.L.P.
But he also referred to different media awards he has won as a sign of his Government's respect for media freedom in Samoa and the region.
He said on the global media ranking, Samoa is listed as one of the top countries where journalists have the freedom to conduct their duties.
“You have the freedom to write stories that are hurtful, stories that give a foul smell but the Government does not react against it," he said.
"Rather we pray for these types of journalists, most especially the reporter sitting right there - Joyetter, she writes a lot of inaccurate stories,” said the Prime Minister, before giggling.
He also criticised TV and Radio presenters for shortening the names of Government officials when making announcements.
International non-profit organisation, Reporters Without Borders has Samoa ranked at 22 in the recently released 2019 World Press Freedom Index.
Last year the country was also ranked 22nd out of 180 countries and territories, though Paris-based Reporters Without Borders says the Government-promoted Criminal Libel law continues to be a major hurdle in enabling Samoans to fully enjoy the benefits of press freedom.