Police question Samoa Observer Chief Reporter

A Samoa Observer reporter was questioned by Police on Thursday afternoon, who were seeking the identity of one of her sources.

Joyetter Feagaimaali'i, who is the Samoa Observer’s Chief Reporter, submitted to questioning at the request of authorities at about 2pm at the Police headquarters in Apia.

During a brief period of questioning, Feagaimaali'i refused repeatedly to identify any of her sources. 

At the conclusion of the interview, she left Police headquarters without further action being taken.

The Police did not take a formal statement from Feagaimaali'i.

The Police Commissioner, Fuiavailili Egon Keil, did not respond to questions asking why Feagaimaali'i had been questioned and on what legal basis the Police were investigating her reporting or her sources.

But it is understood that the matter relates to a Police Professional Standards Unit investigation into a story that the Samoa Observer never published. 

That in turn relates to an as-yet incomplete audit report that is yet to be tabled in Parliament. At no stage has the Samoa Observer quoted from the report or published material relating to it. 

Under the 2013 Audit Act, it is illegal to disclose or publish any report relating to a Government review until it has worked its way through the Parliamentary process. 

Once such reports have wound their way through Parliamentary committees and been deemed complete the Government dictates that their contents may be reported on. 

At no stage has the Samoa Observer reported on or published an article on the contents of a report that breaches the Act.

The Samoa Observer did write several reports relating to the Vaia’ata Prison Project in Savai’i throughout October and November.

None were based on material contained within a report that contravenes the Act and were all based on independent source material. 

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