Samoa | Freedom House

Freedom of the Press

Samoa

Samoa

Freedom of the Press 2005

2005 Scores

Press Status

Free

Press Freedom Score
(0 = best, 100 = worst)

25

Political Environment
(0 = best, 40 = worst)

9

Economic Environment
(0 = best, 30 = worst)

12

The constitution protects freedom of the press, although harassment by the government has occurred. Samoa has three English- and several Samoan-language newspapers, as well as five private radio stations, a government radio station, and some access to local and foreign satellite television. The government requires media outlets to be licensed, but the licensing process is fair and licenses are rarely denied. Police in Apia were accused in June of withholding information about rising crime levels in the region. In October, the minister of health sued the Samoa Observer, the largest private newspaper, for defamation after it reported on a corruption and misuse of funds scandal that led to the minister's suspension. In January, a Samoa International journalist was ordered to pay a fine consisting of several food items for publishing a story damaging to the Safotu village. Provisions of the Publishers and Printers Act threaten imprisonment for any journalist who refuses to reveal a confidential source upon request from a government official, which some say hinders investigative reporting. The government has also canceled advertising in publications that print critical articles. In 2004, the government announced plans to expand broadcasting services, and the Ministry of Communications approved the applications for the development of two television stations. Samoa also adopted a national strategy for information and communications technology, and the government plans a major promotion of Internet access in the country.