Hope for more govt transparency in Samoa on Covid-19 emergency measures

Samoa Government Building FMFMII, ELEELE-FOU. Which includes the Ministry of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. Photo: RNZI/Koroi Hawkins

The head of news at TV1 Samoa is hopeful that a rare Covid-19 government briefing held today signals a move towards more openness and transparency with media.

Renee Kahukura-Iosefa said briefings have not happened during the Covid State of Emergency despite media requests.

“Samoa went into a state of emergency on March the 21st. From then until today pretty much we had no opportunity to be able to ask questions or get factual information directly from the Ministry of Health or directly from the director general,” Renee Kahukura-Iosefa said.

Today’s briefing was called by the ministry of health after the death of a recently returned seasonal worker from New Zealand.

The rare occasion even saw questions allowed from the media which Kahukura-Iosefa described as a positive step given the government has been sharing only scant information via press releases and blocking follow-up questions.

She said concerns about this lack of transparency were highlighted to the government during a recent media assistance workshop.

“How can you be a journalist when you can’t even ask questions?”

“So I think that today is a positive step forward. And so we hope that we can continue to strengthen our relationships with government, ministries, CEOs,” she continued.

“And especially those that at the top who are accountable and who need to front up and let the people of Samoa know what is really happening.”

Source: RNZ