TV1 to stop broadcasting inflammatory sermons
The owners of TV1, the Samoa Broadcasting Company Limited (S.C.B.L.) habe issued a public apology and said it will discontinue broadcasting inflammatory sermons by the leader of the Samoan Independent Seventh Day Adventist Church (S.I.S.D.A.C.).
“TV1 sincerely apologises for any pain and discomfort inadvertently caused by SISDAC’s religious sermons broadcast on television, TV1,” the broadcaster said in a statement issued early on Thursday.
“We have repeatedly raised our concerns with the church leaders. We have discontinued the broadcasts of the controversial sermons as from yesterday evening.”
This follows a direct order from the Prime Minister, Tuilaepa Dr. Sa'ilele Malielegaoi, for the Office of the Attorney General to initiate a "libel and criminal probe" against the leader of the Samoan Independent Seventh Day Adventist Church (S.I.S.D.A.C.) and the Samoa Broadcasting Company Limited.
In a statement issued, Prime Minister Tuilaepa warns S.I.S.D.A.C's World Leader, Pastor Willie Papu and TV1 to "expect the Government’s full legal wrath."
Tuilaepa also made the point quite clear when he spoke in Parliament during the budget debate, “this is character assassination.
“It’s worse than murder because the public shame will be inherited by the victim and his or her children forever,” said the Prime Minister.
Tuilaepa further claims that he was chastised by Pastor Papu, who accused him of inflaming violence and unrest among the churches.
The Pastor further alleged that Tuilaepa’s appointment as the Government Leader was influenced by a foreign government.
According to the S.B.C.L. the S.I.S.D.A.C. is a paying customer.
“And can still broadcast sermons purely on the word of God and without reference to any other church or beliefs.
“It is not the intention of TV1 to discredit any person or any church nor to cause divisions amongst religious organizations in Samoa,” the broadcaster’s statement continued.
“We take pride in providing equal access to broadcasting services to all members of our community.
“Censorship of church ministers’ sermons has never been seen as necessary.”
The company said they will begin scrutinising all sermons prior to airing on national television.
“We count on the integrity and noble judgments of Church Leaders and all Servants of God when it comes to matters of spiritual teachings,” the broadcaster said.
“We will now have to approve all religious sermons before broadcast.”
“Again, our most sincere apologies.”
The National Council of Churches also lamented on the televised religious programme that has angered churches, political leaders as well as members of the public.
Council Secretary and a Church Minister, Reverend Maauga Motu, told the Samoa Observer that one of their objectives is to promote harmony between all churches.
He said criticism of churches by the Samoa Independent Seventh Day Adventist Church (S.I.S.D.A.C.) Worldwide Leader, Pastor Willie Papu, goes against everything the council stands for.
“It’s sad to see that churches and families through members of the public are starting to retaliate through this issue, which is not what we wanted and is against the original purpose of why we are Christians,” Rev. Motu said.
“The purpose of this Council of Churches is to have a peaceful and harmonious relationship between churches but with what (Pastor) Papu is doing, he is clearly creating a controversy between the churches.”
To date the S.I.S.D.A.C. has not responded to calls for comments.