“Freedom of the Press is a Precious Privilege that No Country Can Forgo” Mahatma Gandhi


The Journalist Association of Western Samoa (JAWS) joins the global media in celebrating the World Press Freedom Day (WPFD) 2022 on a fitting theme “Journalism Under Digital Seige.”

It is a celebration that takes place on the 3rd of May every year since its endorsement by the United Nations General Assembly in 1993, where the media and journalists come together to celebrate the fundamental principle of freedom of expression, press freedom and pay tribute to journalists past and present.

Samoa Media has come a long way and in this time of digital era, press freedom and the flow of information need accessible free internet especially now as the world fights COVID-19.

Information in a democratic country is not only seen as a fundamental right but is a vital instrument of survival in such times, and with modern technology and internet connectivity, we enjoy the free flow and easy access to information, said JAWS President Lagi Keresoma.

But with such freedom of accessibility to the internet enters another dilemma, Governments restrict or deprive the public of information.

This is evident in several countries where their Government had censored content or taken control of the internet and by doing so severed vital connections between the public, media and information.

The closest Samoa experienced such an issue was when the previous Government threatened to close Facebook which is the most popular platform in Samoa for the public and one of the media avenues of getting information out.

“Such interference from the Government has impacted greatly on the freedom of expression and the vital role of journalists who are constantly under digital surveillance either by the Government or others,” she said.

The country’s general election last year and the political crisis that followed is one classic example of the media under surveillance by both major political parties and the public.

The credibility of the media’s neutral stance was also questioned and while some journalists faced the wrath of keyboard warriors, others had to face legal challenges.

However, the experience of the Samoan media is not as harsh as our colleagues in other parts of the world who had to face physical and even death for standing up in exposing corruption

“We do encounter daily attacks from all sorts of walks either directly or on social media platforms, and the continuous cyber bullying of our journalists, ” said JAWS President.

The digital revolution has changed Samoa a lot and so has the media platform which is more accessible now, but also very influential and manipulative.

“Suddenly everyone becomes a media expert overnight stealing the exclusive role of the proper media or journalists,” said the President.

While JAWS value accessibility to the internet, its members are also conscious not to take it for granted and as much as they are aware of constant online scrutiny and attacks, they continue to stay strong in ensuring that freedom of expression and a free media continues to exist in Samoa.

On that note, JAWS would like to acknowledge the support of its partners locally and internationally.

JAWS Executive wishes all media and journalists past and present a happy celebration of the World Press Freedom Day 2022.