I love Samoa Observer: P.M. Tuilaepa
Prime Minister Tuilaepa Dr. Sa'ilele Malielegaoi has commended the Samoa Observer newspaper for shining the light on concerns and issues highlighted by Samoa’s other political parties.
Tuilaepa made the comments during his weekly programme with Radio 2AP at Sapapali'i, Savai'i on Thursday.
He said the articles published by this newspaper is what other media outlets use to formulate their questions to ask him during their interviews, which in turn makes the discussions interesting.
"The thing is, I love (Samoa) Observer so much," Tuilaepa said. "Even though I make harsh comments towards them most of the time, I still love the (Samoa) Observer.
"The reason why I love them is that they are working together with F.A.S.T. (Fa'atuatua i le Atua Samoa ua Tasi) and they bring and highlight issues happening in the country."
The Prime Minister then turned to the Radio 2AP host who was doing the interview and said: "You guys then go and read their articles and use those articles to formulate the questions you ask me during our weekly programmes.
"That is how you get your questions and that is what makes these interviews interesting, but it's all because of the issues highlighted in the Observer.
"They (Samoa Observer) are like a spokesperson for F.A.S.T., S.N.D.P., Tautua and that other party owned by that one lady who is likely to get only one vote.”
According to Tuilaepa, he is only answering the questions and explaining the issues on behalf of the Government, though he said people should also contact the Radio 2AP host.
"So if people complain about the issues we discuss during these programmes, they should come and complain to you who is asking me questions.
"I am only answering and explaining the issues on behalf of the government.
“If people have any problems with the issues we discuss, they should come and see you guys about it because you ask the questions and I answer.
"But I know your questions are based on the stories and articles published by the Samoa Observer.
Praising the work of this newspaper, Tuilaepa told the Radio 2AP host that he wouldn't have known about the issues to raise during the programme if it wasn’t for the work of the Samoa Observer.
"That is why I take my hat off to the Observer because if it weren't for the Observer, you won't know anything about these issues. And I thank the Observer for their work."
Looking back on his interviews with various local media organisations, he said different organisations requested interviews with him, when it would have been more convenient if all media organisations united.
"It has been ten years since we started this programme," Tuilaepa said. "It used to be just for the Radio 2AP to discuss issues that are happening in the country, so they are being informed. "Then TV1 requested for an opportunity, then the Samoa Observer, Talamua, and Newsline joined later.
"After some time, TV3 also wanted to join. The problem is, the different media outlets do not want to come together all at once.
"You all prefer to have your own allocated times for your interviews, which is difficult for me as I have other things to do.
"It shows that there is no unity within the media industry and you do not want to work together. “Every journalist wants to do better than the other and always wants to break the news first but the person who is affected is me."
But keeping the country informed is important, according to the Prime Minister, who said his door is always open to journalists to ask questions.
"I do this because I sorry feel for all of you (journalists) because I see that some of you are really skinny, but I know this is how you get your loaf of bread.
"Also because I don't want you guys to get fired from your jobs.
"Because your bosses are always expecting you guys to return back after the day with something.
"We started this programme with some of you being very skinny. Now I can see that you all have gained, which tells me that you all are getting richer.
"So I feel sorry for the journalists and I don't want you guys to end up being skinny, that is why I keep doing these programmes.
"I am one of the reasons why the Samoa Observer newspaper survives after all these years."
Going back to the policy criticisms that his Government has been subjected to by rival political parties, Tuilaepa said he had to respond so the public is not “misinformed”.
"My job is to explain the side of the Government on these issues, because there are so many people out there spreading lies and defaming the government especially those who were inside of the Cabinet, under my leadership.
"The knowledge they now have started from the time they were in Cabinet.
"They used to ask us for opinions on the different things and ask for explanations on the different issues in the country.
"But now that they are outside, they are using that knowledge to spread lies.
"However, when they were in the Cabinet, they were only playing games on their phones during discussions.
"But now they are making strong statements to manipulate the minds of our people.
"I don't know where they get that kind of wisdom from."