3 Nov 2003

American Samoa governor objects to censorship

4:37 pm on 3 November 2003

The American Samoan governor, Togiola Tulafono, says he is disappointed and saddened that someone used his name to curtail media coverage of last week's emergency landing of a plane at Pago Pago International Airport.

The plane was carrying Togiola and five Aloha Airline officials when it suffered a mechanical problem, forcing the pilot to dump fuel ahead of the landing.

A newspaper official at Samoa News said airport security officers confiscated a camera from a press photographer and removed pictures of the landing.

Togiola said he was surprised to read that he was alleged to have given the instruction when he in fact was on the plane and gave no such order.

He says the misreporting has led to abusive phone calls being made to his wife about the matter.

The governor says he is against censorship and insists that the public has a right to be informed.