16 Apr 2009

Samoa seeks legal advice over controversial TVNZ report

6:50 pm on 16 April 2009

Samoa's Attorney General office has hired the New Zealand law firm Chapman Tripp following an outcry in Samoa over a Television New Zealand news report about gangs and gun smuggling in Samoa.

The Acting Police Commissioner, Lilomaiava Fou Taioalo, says several individuals who appeared in the news item last week have issued written statements to confirm they are not gang members.

The men have told the police other locals involved were provided with alcohol in return for their cooperation with the TV crew.

They were reportedly asked to act as though they were gangsters and drug dealers for a TV documentary.

The law firm Chapman Tripp is to look at possible action after the Police Ministry accused the TVNZ team of inaccurate reporting and a lack of professionalism.

A Samoan statement says there is a risk the news item has damaged Samoa's reputation as a safe and secure place for tourists.