Monday, March 30, 2009

JAWS Statement on Harassment of Journalists at Courts

APIA (27 March 2009) - The Journalists Association of (Western) Samoa , (JAWS) in response to complaints by members wish to reiterate that we will not tolerate the harassment of local Journalists in the pursuit of truth. Journalists play an important role in any society, the media is the fourth estate of democracy and it is essentially the eyes and ears of society. We, the Journalists are informants of the public and therefore have a duty to our readers, listeners and audiences to seek to the best of our ability, both sides of every story.
Recently we have received reports that members of the public have attacked and threatened Journalists and Camera Crew outside the Court house while covering court proceedings. The harassment of Journalists is a direct threat on media freedom itself. By hindering the work of Journalists members of the public are inadvertently infringing upon the people’s right to know and be informed.
We call upon our law enforcers to assist in the protection of local Journalists in their duty at the courts. JAWS calls upon the public to be mindful that a Journalist reports not for his or her own sake but for the sake of our readers, listeners and audiences.
JAWS calls upon the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) to support the organisation in this statement for the sake of media freedom in Samoa.
JAWS , reiterates that media freedom is integral to democracy.