Model status now in danger

Despite the liveliness of media groups such as Talamua Media and the Samoa Observer Group, and individual newspapers such as Iniini Samoa, this Pacific archipelago is in the process of losing its status as a regional press freedom model. The law criminalizing defamation was repealed in 2013, raising hopes that were finally dashed in December 2017, when parliament restored the law under pressure from Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi. The grounds he gave was a supposed need to penalize so-called “ghost writers,” by which he above all meant those who dared to criticize members of his government. The Media Council law adopted in 2015 was welcomed, inter alia, because it led to the adoption of a code of ethics in February 2017. But the Council’s decisions began to worry some journalists, who thought the government could use it as a weapon in the event of conflicts with the media. And in 2017, some accused the ruling Human Rights Protection Party of trying to use the Council to exercise less visible but more effective control over the Samoan media.

in the 2018 World Press Freedom Index



21 in 2017

Global score


16.41 in 2017

  • 0
    journalists killed in 2019
  • 0
    citizens journalists killed in 2019
  • 0
    media assistants killed in 2019
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