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Samoa PM explains media push

Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sa’ilele Malielegaoi has taken a swipe at the “weak” local media amidst mounting criticism of his proposed media regulatory body.

“The media should rejoice and sing hallelujah and hosanna because the government is doing their work for them.”  He said the government proposal to set up a body to regulate the media is long overdue.

He ordered the Samoa Law Reform Commission last November to make recommendations as to the form such a body should take.

“For the past ten years, we have been calling on the media to set up this body themselves but they could not do it, now the government is stepping in to help them.”

He said he didn’t understand why the media were questioning the establishment of such a body because it has been in discussion for so long.
“I have already spoken with your boss Savea Sano Malifa many times before about this issue,” he told the Samoa Observer reporter in an interview last week.

He said the Samoan media was “weak” and couldn’t even carry out this simple task. Samoan journalists were recently divided on the government’s proposal and could not reach an agreement during a three-hour meeting held at the Government Office Complex on Beach Road.

Samoa Observer editor in chief, Savea Sano Malifa, objected saying there were enough laws in place presently regulating the Samoan media so that any more regulations would be completely unnecessary.  He added that if a body to regulate the media on how they’re carrying out their duties and responsibilities is to be set up, perhaps this country’s laws should be cleaned up first.