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Freedom of the Press 2008 - Samoa

Publisher Freedom House
Publication Date 29 April 2008
Cite as Freedom House, Freedom of the Press 2008 - Samoa, 29 April 2008, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/4871f62c4.html [accessed 26 October 2014]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

Status: Free
Legal Environment: 7 (of 30)
Political Environment: 12 (of 40)
Economic Environment: 10 (of 30)
Total Score: 29 (of 100)
(Lower scores = freer)

While the constitution protects press freedom in Samoa, the Defamation Act of 1992 contains provisions on criminal and civil libel that remain of concern. The most significant media freedom issue in 2007 involved a fire that destroyed the offices of Newsline Somoa, hampering one of the country's main publications. Although there were no clear allegations that the fire was intentional, an editor noted that it took place just days before the Pacific Games, the biggest media event of the year. Early in 2007, the chief executive of the privately owned commercial television station LAUTV, Tuiasau Leota Uelese Petaia, was embroiled in a court case over allegations that the company had failed to contribute to the National Provident Fund for six months on behalf of its media workers. The year concluded with concerns about a proposal to privatize the public radio and TV broadcaster Samoa Broadcasting Corporation. Apart from the state-run SIBC, Samoa has five private and religious broadcasters, including the Radio Polynesia group with four FM stations, and access to local and foreign satellite television. Samoa has seven main media publications, including the newspapers Samoa Observer, Newsline, Le Samoa and the state-run Savali, and three newspapers based in Auckland, New Zealand. Internet usage is unrestricted, but accessed by only 3.2 percent of the population.

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