Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Preferential Treatment of Media by Samoan Police


Members of the private Media were turned away from the Prison Cells at Tafaigata last week.
Police turned five reporters, from Newsprint, Radio and one TV away at the gates of the Tafaigata Prison Cells early last week.
The Reporters were attempting to report on the opening of the newly built cells at the Prison after a Press Release was received the day before.
One disgruntled Reporter stated: “After being rejected at the gate I went directly to the Commissioner of Police and asked him to let me in, but he said we were not allowed and he did not give a reason why.”
One Reporter made it all the way up to the Minister concerned only to be told yet again that the private media was not allowed.
That same night the Government owned TV Station, SBC TV1 aired the full story of the opening complete with images.
Members of JAWS have expressed their concern over the preferential treatment by Government Ministries of Government Media.
According to one JAWS Officer: “All forms of Media in this country should be equal and we should all have the same rights to any information, therefore what the Police did was undemocratic and not to mention unfair.”
This is not the first time the police have withheld information from the media, with a history of hiding figures and statistics from the public their secrecy is no news to local Journalists.
The Police Commissioner has yet to provide a reason for the impromptu ban on the private media.