Samoa asked to drop criminal charges against blogger 'King Faipopo'
Rarotonga, COOK ISLANDS — Government in Samoa should not waste taxpayers money on arresting and prosecuting a public critic, says PFF, the Pacific Freedom Forum.
"Focus on fighting corruption, not freedom of speech," says PFF Chair Bernadette Carreon of Palau, reminding Samoa of its commitment to Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, guaranteeing freedoms of expression.
"New legislation, based on old criminal libel laws from colonial times, forces Samoa leaders to look backwards, not forwards."
Government's case follows an earlier attempt to shut down another long-time critic, O Le Palemia, which ended up in the arrest of a woman who is now suing the government for wrongful arrest, claiming mistaken identity.
PFF co-Chair Monica Miller says that part of the problem can be traced back to the government itself, which started censoring its own news years ago.
"Pacific countries need strong, independent public service news, free from censorship, to balance any claims via social media," says Miller, speaking from American Samoa.
"As our members heard from the Pacific media leaders summit in Auckland today, fake news and misinformation thrives in the absence of credible news."