Prime Minister Sailele Tuilaepa’s administration lets the independent press report the news freely. But a government plan to impose a code of ethics on journalists has been criticised by the few privately-owned news media.
Police burst into the homes of Faiesea Lei Sam-Matafeo, the director of the state-run TV station Televise Samoa, and one of her journalists on 17 February 2003 after the authorities challenged the accuracy of a report about a police sergeant tried on a charge of theft. Sam-Matafeo filed a complaint the next day accusing the police of harassing her and her staff. The disputed report had stuck to the facts, she insisted.
Privately-owned radio Talofa FM dropped "Tala fou mai Niu Sila," a news magazine produced by Radio New Zealand, from its programming on 3 March on the grounds that its New Zealand-based presenter, Seiuli Leifi, voiced inappropriate "personal opinions" about the poor quality of public services in Samoa. The state-run Radio 2AP nonetheless continued to broadcast Leifi’s news programme.
Savea Sano Malifa, the editor of the daily Samoa Observer, criticised a government plan to impose a code of ethics on Samoa’s journalists in September, pointing out that the Journalists Association of Samoa had already established a committee to monitor respect for professional ethics. He told Radio New Zealand International the government should instead amend laws that allow freedom of opinion to be curbed, citing the Printers and Publishers Act which can be used to make editors reveal their sources.