17 August 1999

LIBEL CHARGES AGAINST SAMOA OBSERVER DROPPED


On 13 August, the "Samoa Observer" reported that the Supreme Court suspended the criminal libel action by the late Samoan Prime Minister, Tofilau Eti Alesana, against the paper's publisher and a former editor, according to the Pacific Islands News Association (PINA).
The Court also ruled that an appeal scheduled for 23 August would be cancelled. Savea Sano Malifa and Fuimaono Fereti were sued for criminal libel over the 6 March 1997 publication of a letter to the editor from Misatauveve Joseph Hollywood, a Samoan expatriate who was living in New Zealand.

The letter was alleged to have defamed the Prime Minister and came at a time when the paper was reporting on corruption. According to PINA, "The Samoa Observer" published an editorial stating that the ruling "was the best news this newspaper has heard for a long time." [Updates IFEX "Communique"
#7-44.


Samoa
 
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