Samoa Censor Board Investigating Locally-Made Films

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Chairman says misleading board can result in criminal charges

By Lagi Keresoma

APIA, Samoa (Talamua, March 6, 2013) – Excessive violence is amongst criticisms of locally-made films which are under investigation by Samoa’s Censor Board.

It is alleged that films not yet approved by the board have been screened all over the country, chairman, Masinalupe Tusipa Masinalupe, said.

Masinalupe said, the producer of the "Li’a i Mealilo" film was told to pay his business license first before the board can grant him a permit to allow his film to be screened.

"He never returned then we heard people talking about his film," he said.

That matter is under investigation by the board.

Another film under investigation is "Ta Lelava Pologa" after complaints that it is too violent.

Another investigation involves a producer who gave a copy of his film to the board to scrutinize which is different from the version being screened publicly.

"Misleading (the Censor Board) is very serious in this business and a person can be charged under the Police Crime Ordinance Act," said Masinalupe.

Copies of films under investigation by the Censor’s Board have been confiscated from shops around town, he said.

Work is underway on a draft of a public notice to remind film makers of their obligations under the law and for parents and families to work together with the authorities.

"It’s not about money anymore, but the impact of these movies on the children and community," said Masinalupe, who is also chief executive officer of Ministry of Justice and Courts Administration.

He believes the board cannot control or monitor the flow of movies just by censoring, especially when parents allow their children to pick up movies from movie rental businesses.

"Our focus is to educate the people on the impact of movies."

Filipino Series

Masinalupe is also concerned by the length of time allocated for Filipino movies aired by television stations.

"It goes on for three to four hours at night and then again the next day," he said.

"This is not healthy for the children especially when it’s shown during school days."

Film Control Board Act

Under the Film Control Board Act, all films require a permit from the Ministry of Justice before it may be lent out or shown in a movie theatre.

Failure to comply attracts a fine of $1000.

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