Friday, November 17, 2006

Statement on Mistreatment of local Journalists

The following statment was issued by JAWS on the 16th of November 2006 in response to complaints from its members about mistreatment by workers, management and CEO of Samoa Tourism Authority.
Journalists Association of [Western] Samoa

The Journalists Association of [Western] Samoa in response to complaints from its members would like to issue this statement on behalf of the working Journalists of Samoa.

The JAWS Executive has agreed that the mistreatment of local Journalists by the Samoa Tourism Authority is unacceptable, improper and intolerable.
JAWS is appalled at the way in which the STA workers, management and CEO has treated Journalists in relation to the Miss Samoa and Miss South Pacific Pageants.
JAWS will no longer tolerate such treatment of working Journalists in Samoa.

We as Journalists have a responsibility to our readers, listeners and viewers to inform them of events in Samoa.
As the JAWS Code of Ethics clearly states: “Our Responsibility: The publics right to know of events of public importance and interest is the overriding mission of the mass media.”
Some Journalists were denied this responsibility by STA and by doing so, they denied the publics right to know.
We are not in this profession to serve our interests but rather the interest of the public who have a right to know.

We believe that a free press equals a fair and democratic society, and as advocates of free press we issue the following recommendations.

I. That working Journalists be treated fairly by all as we have a responsibility to the public.

II. That Journalists are not to be discriminated against due to their gender, age or background.

III. That Official Government Media passes signed by the highest authority are issued to working Journalists. These Passes will act as an annual access for Journalists to prescribed Government related events such as Independence, Teuila, conferences, launches, handovers, commemorations, inductions and so forth.

IV.That the Press is informed well ahead of time before any Government event, with either a Programme, Press Release, Backgrounder or a Fact Sheet. In saying this, we do recognize the efforts of some Government Ministries who have treated Journalists fairly and have followed the proper procedures.

V. That the Press be assigned proper seating in events to have clear view of the occasion. This will enable Journalists to film, take photos, record or take notes therefore enabling us to report and cover the event accurately.

VI. That the Press have easy phone access to a Spokesperson from each Ministry or Government Body who will answer any questions pertaining to Government events, issues and happenings.

With respect to the Prime Minister Hon. Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi and Deputy Prime Minister Hon. Misa Telefoni Retzlaff who understand the need for free press and fair treatment of Journalists. JAWS hereby issue a boycott of all STA events until further notice.


JAWS Executive
Journalists Association of [Western] Samoa