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Journalism association shuts down amid new moves to control Samoa's media

APIA (Pacific Media Watch): The 22-year-old Journalists Association of Samoa (JAWS) has officially been deregistered in the latest move in Samoa's media regulation controversy.A public notice, published in the Samoa Observer on September 1, by the Deputy Registrar of Incorporated Societies in Samoa, Auelua Samuelu Enari, noted that the incorporated society was deregistered in response to “advice” by executive members of JAWS.The notice stated: “That I have reviewed the Register of Incorporated Societies and made enquiries and am satisfied that Journalists Association of Western Samoa duly incorporated on the 31st of October 1991 is no longer carrying on its operation under the provisions of the Incorporate Society Ordinance 1952.”The deregistration of the only national body representing the media in Samoa comes at a time when the government is speeding up the process of setting up a media council to regulate what is published and broadcasted in the local media.According to Radio New Zealand International, the journalism association will re-register in the next few months so that it can work with the government in drafting new media regulation legislation.JAWS president Uale Papali’i Taimalelagi said he wrote to the Department of Labour seeking to have the organisation de-registered, because it had not completed some of the necessary paperwork over the past few years.Umbrella organisationHe said he wanted to ensure the umbrella organisation for journalists was re-registered as a legal entity, with all the paperwork in place.He said JAWS would then be able to work with the Attorney-General’s office to draft the legislation.“The legislation that is about to come out from the Attorney-General’s office will have to come to JAWS while JAWS is a legal entity.