P.M. Tuilaepa attacks media for reporting on rape, incest

By Joyetter Feagaimaali’i-Luamanu ,

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Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi.

Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi. (Photo: File)

Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi has vented his rage against the media and the Police, accusing them of giving Samoa a bad name around the world, with what he claims are repeated media reports on rape and incest. 

For four weeks now, Tuilaepa has suspended the Police weekly press conferences, as a result.

He expressed his concern over the negative impact of media reports on incest and rape cases that have been reported each day, over the last several weeks. 

During his weekly press conference on Wednesday afternoon, he said: “These negative reports give the impression that our country is not a place people would like to visit, and this is what the newspapers and radio are doing.” 

He also said: “In New Zealand, with its thousands and thousands of citizens, you hardly hear of any incest cases being reported like here in (Samoa).

“In fact, the Police’s weekly reports of the crimes being committed around  Samoa, that are being reported by the media, are always on rape and incest. 

“If there are five sex cases announced during the weekly press conference, the media will publicise them, each day of the week.” 

“This gives outsiders the impression that Samoa, while it is a small country, there are a lot of rapes being committed,” he said. 

“You hardly hear of these cases being reported in New Zealand or Australia, because their journalists are wise and they are protective of the image of their country.” 

As for Samoa’s journalists, Tuilaepa said, “They are lazy and they don’t go to the Court House to sit in during the cases. Instead, they run to the Police for information.” 

Tuilaepa, who is also the Minister of Police, ordered those press conferences suspended, four weeks ago.

He said: “That is why there are no more weekly press conferences, because that is where the journalists entice the Police Officer in charge to give out more information to the media.” 

And that, according to Tuilaepa, is how the media has been giving Samoa a very bad name.

“Tourists who come here see the numerous church buildings, they know that Samoans are church-going people,” he said.

“And yet, it does not coincide with the rape cases that are being reported from Monday to Saturday,” he explained.

These are the sorts of reports that scare the tourists to the point that they do not want to visit this country, he added. 

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