Samoa Observer says sorry but complaints still laid with Ombudsman

At least three formal complaints have been lodged with the Ombudsman’s office over the Samoa Observer newspaper’s front page treatment of a young transgender victim of suicide.

There have been mixed reactions to the paper’s more personal apology published in the Samoa Observer on Tuesdayover the signature of the editor in chief Gatoaitele Savea Sano Malifa.

Let me say this is not an easy letter for me to write. Still, I feel duty-bound to write these words, since it is our duty to tell the public we serve, the truth.

The truth is that last week, we made a sad mistake when we published a story on the late Jeanine Tuivaiki, on the front page of the Sunday Samoan.

We now accept that there has been an inexcusable lapse of judgment on our part, and for that we are sincerely regretful.

Yesterday, we met with members of Jeannie Tuivaiki’s family at their home at Vaiusu, where we extended our sincere apologies, and we are now thankful that we have done so.

And so to Jeanine’s family we are very sorry.

To the L.G.B.T community in Samoa and abroad, we offer our humble apologies.

We want you all to know, that there is never an intention on our part to denigrate or discriminate against anyone, at any time.

Over the years, the Samoa Observer has been a strong supporter of the Fa’afafine community here in Samoa, through sponsorships and assistance with their community coverage.

Today, I sincerely apologise to our readers and members of the public, for coming out in the open this way. There is no other way to explain how it feels.

Today, I sincerely apologise to our readers and members of the public, for coming out in the open this way. There is no other way to explain how it feels.

Since the story in question was published in the Sunday Samoan, an outpouring of irate letters of criticism from here in Samoa, and abroad were received.

We want to remind that whenever we make a mistake, we apologize as soon as possible.

It follows that all the letters criticising us over the handling of this matter, are published today in this edition.

We sincerely accept that we’ve made a mistake

signed: Gatoaitele Savea Sano Malifa. Editor in Chief.

Speaking with Daily News Malifa said the apology that went out on Tuesday over his name, and in which he referred to Tuivaiki as a man, was not written by him.

“I did not write that… it came in and I thought the best thing to do is put my name there. I don’t know, the story came to me…. what else I can’t say.”

“I am the chief editor but things get past me without my knowledge, this [original] story was not written by me and I apologise because I am the editor in chief.”

“And I have to take responsibility for things that are done that are not right and for which I apologise.”

“I have apologised for the entire Samoa Observer organisation, all the staff reporters and everybody.”

Gatoaitele Savea Sano Malifa says he has received angry reaction to printing the photograph from all over the world, including from his extended family.



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