Samoa | Freedom House

Freedom of the Press

Samoa

Samoa

Freedom of the Press 2008

2008 Scores

Press Status

Free

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

29

Political Environment
(0 = best, 40 = worst)

12

Economic Environment
(0 = best, 30 = worst)

10

The press freedom environment in Samoa remained stable in 2007. While the constitution protects press freedom in Samoa, the Defamation Law of 1992 contains provisions on criminal and civil libel that remain of concern. The most significant media freedom issue in 2007 involved a fire that destroyed the offices of Newsline Samoa, hampering one of the country’s main publications. Although there were no clear allegations that the fire was intentional, an editor noted that it took place just days before the Pacific Games, the biggest media event of the year. Early in 2007, the chief executive of the privately owned commercial television station LAUTV, Tuiasau Leota Uelese Petaia, was embroiled in a court case over allegations that the company had failed to contribute to the National Provident Fund for six months on behalf of its media workers. The year concluded with concerns about a proposal to privatize the public radio and television broadcaster Samoa Broadcasting Corporation (SBC). Apart from the state-run SBC, Samoa has five private and religious broadcasters, including the Radio Polynesia group with four FM stations, and access to local and foreign satellite television. There are seven main news publications, including the newspapers Samoa Observer, Newsline, Le Samoa, and the state-run Savali, and three newspapers based in Auckland, New Zealand. The internet is unrestricted but was accessed by only 3.2 percent of the population in 2007.