SAMOA OBSERVER ASSISTED BY WORLD PRESS FREEDOM COMMITTEE

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SUVA.. Fiji (August 25, 1997 - PACNEWS)---A major international press freedom organization is providing financial assistance to Samoa's independent daily newspaper, the Samoa Observer, following court action against the Apia publication.

Following a request from the Pacific Islands News Association (PINA) in Fiji, the World Press Freedom Committee (WPFC) contributed $5,000 to help the Observer fight criminal libel charges against both its Editor-Publisher and Samoan Language Editor.

WPFC Executive Director Marilyn Greene, in a letter to PINA, said the charges against Savea Sano Malifa, Editor-Publisher, and Fuimaono Fereti Tupua, Samoan Language Editor, are "inappropriate and unjustified."

Samoa's Prime Minister, Tupuola Eti Alesana, said earlier he will change the country's business license laws so he can close newspapers like the Observer for what he called "stirring up trouble."

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