28 Jun 2016

Samoa newspaper coverage of death found disrespectful

8:53 pm on 28 June 2016

The Samoa Ombudsman says the Samoa Observer's coverage of the death of transgender woman Jeanine Tuivaiki was disrespectful.

Maiava Iulai Toma cited Article 1 of the UN Declaration of Human Rights which says in part 'all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.'

Ombudsman Maiava Iulai Toma

Ombudsman Maiava Iulai Toma Photo: RNZ Autagavaia Tipi Autagavaia

Maiava says this concept mirrors the core fa'a samoa principle of feavaa'i or mutual respect.

He says like the human right to dignity, feavaa'i is demanded of all Samoans.

Maiava says it is something that should be afforded to all people, regardless of their gender, race or creed.

The Ombudsman says it should also be afforded at all stages of human life.

Maiava says the Observer did not afford Jeanine, and her family, respect when it published a photo of her body printed an article on the front page of the Sunday Samoan.

His office also takes the paper to task for referring to Jeanine as a man when the term "faafafine" is widely recognised and could have been used.