27 Aug 2018

'We cannot shy away from telling the truth' - Gaitoaitele on 40 years of the Samoa Observer

12:59 pm on 27 August 2018

The editor-in-chief of the Samoa Observer says his paper has been able to survive many years of government opposition during its 40 years of existence.

Gatoaitele Savea Sano Malifa and staff at the paper he founded, marked the anniversary over the weekend.

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Photo: Samoa Observer

Gatoaitele said the paper has been through a lot including legal action launched by a previous government and a fire which destroyed its offices in 1994.

He said he is proud that the Observer has stood firm.

"We're glad that despite what the government had been trying to do to shut the paper down, that we went on publishing," Gatoaitele said.

Founder and editor-in-chief of the Samoa Observer, Gatoaitele Savea Sano Malifa.

Founder and editor-in-chief of the Samoa Observer, Gatoaitele Savea Sano Malifa. Photo: Gatoaitele Savea Sano Malifa / Facebook Page

"How did they try to shut us down? By suing us with huge amounts of money and also with the introduction of the Criminal Libel law." Gatoaitele said.

Gatoaitele said while nothing is perfect, the media environment has improved in Samoa in recent years.

"All those things in the past are no longer here. We are hoping that a new era will begin in Samoa where there is peace and happiness and freedom...and the truth," Gatoaitele said.

The Samoa Observer's editor-in-chief said seeking the truth has led to its successful 40 years.

"We cannot shy away from telling the truth, even if a bloody gun was put in our faces, (I am being funny here). But the truth is sacrosanct to us," Gatoaitele said.

"After living in America, and my wife is American, we know about the 'other truth' and when we came here we insisted that the truth has to be told even despite what the government would like to do to us."

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