P.M. Tuilaepa attacks media for reporting on incest and rape! Why? Is he worried that without tourists, his baby Samoa Airways would repeat the horror that’s still haunting him today?

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Gatoaitele Savea Sano Malifa

Around three months ago during a press conference, Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi apparently vented his rage against the media and the Police, accusing them of giving Samoa a bad name around the world with what he claimed, were repeated media reports on incest and rape right here in Samoa.

He told Police officers and reporters then: “These negative reports give the impression that our country is not a place where people would like to visit, and this is what the newspapers and radio are doing.” 

He also said: “Samoa’s journalists are lazy, they don’t go to the Court House to sit in during the cases, and instead they run to the Police for information.” 

He then explained: “Tourists who come here, see the numerous church buildings, they know that Samoans are church-going people, and yet that does not coincide with the rape cases that are being reported by the media from Monday to Saturday.

“These are the sorts of reports that scare the tourists to the point that they do not want to visit this country.”

And lastly, he said: “(Now) that is how the media has been giving Samoa a very bad name.”

In any case, such was his rage that on that day he suspended his weekly press conferences, having impressed on everyone how angry he was, with the negative impact of media reports on incest and rape cases that have been reported each day over the last several weeks, right here in Samoa. 

Revealed Tuilaepa: “That is why there are no more weekly press conferences, since that is where the journalists entice the Police Officer in charge to give out more information to the media.” 

As for Samoa’s journalists themselves, Prime Minister Tuilaepa’s opinion of them is succinctly clear.  

“They are lazy.” he said. “They don’t go to the Court House to sit in during the cases. Instead they run to the Police for information.” 

Which was why as also the Minister of Police, he ordered those press conferences suspended four weeks ago.

He said: “That was when I knew the media has been giving Samoa a very bad name.

He added: “Tourists who come here see the numerous church buildings, so they know that Samoans are church-going people.

“And yet, it does not coincide with the incest and rape cases that are being reported by the media, from Monday to Saturday.”

He went on to say “these are the sorts of reports that scare the tourists away, so that they do not want to visit this country ever again.” 

And then as if to prove he’s always right, he’s gone ahead and compared Samoa to New Zealand, saying: “In New Zealand, with its thousands and thousands of citizens, you hardly hear of any incest or rape cases being reported there, like they’re doing here in (Samoa).”

Well, unfortunately for him, according to the New Zealand Herald, which has the country’s biggest circulation, he is wrong; dead wrong.   

This is what we’ve found in the New Zealand Herald about incest and rape, and for obvious reasons,   all names are fictitious. 

01 May 2017

By: Anna Leask

Anna Leask is a Senior Police reporter for the New Zealand Herald.

She writes that today is the start of Rape Awareness Week. 

Between January 2016 and January 2017, 5865 people were the victims of sexual violence or abuse in New Zealand. Most of the victims were women aged 15 to 19. 

She says research shows that one in five Kiwi women will experience a sexual assault as an adult. 

The problem is serious, she points out, and shockingly, only about 10 per cent of incidents are ever reported. 

Today the Herald shines a light on the issue in a bid to educate - and reduce the stigma around rape and other sex crimes.

23 Aug, 2017 

By: Sam Hurley

New Zealand Herald court reporter.

A well-known artist facing rape and indecent assault allegations would send “threatening” midnight messages to one of his teenage students, a court has heard.

The man, whom the Herald cannot name due to court suppression orders, is on trial before a jury and Judge Brooke Gibson, in the Auckland District Court.

He is accused of raping and violating four women, aged 14-18, during 2014 and 2015, at his private Auckland studio.

He is also charged with assaulting one of the women with a belt.

The artist, whose work has been displayed in popular museums, denies all the charges.

Yesterday, a video interview with one of the students was played to the court. She explained “how the artist would lock the door to his studio before becoming physical.

“You need this experience, it will make you a better arts student,” the woman said the man would tell her.

12 Nov, 2015

By: Isaac Davison

Political reporter, NZ Herald.

Now this one should surely rattle Prime Minister Tuilaepa’s mind to the very core, upon knowing that even Members of Parliament - he is one of them obviously - are not at all immune to stories and even acts of sexual violation, as we all know about.   

This one says: Labour, Greens women say stories shared as rebuke to P.M.

• The headline on this article has apparently been the subject of a complaint to the Press Council. 

It says that “women MPs have revealed their history of sexual abuse in public for the first time, to tell Prime Minister John Key that they were personally offended by his comments about rapists.”

It says that “in a chaotic day in Parliament, MPs on the Opposition side revolted after Speaker, David Carter, ruled that Mr Key did not need to apologize for his remarks.

“As for the Prime Minister himself, he remained defiant, pointing to newly-released offense statistics to back his accusation that the Labour Party was supporting rapists, murderers and other criminals on Christmas Island detention centre.”

Now “that prompted a mass protest by women MPs in the Labour and Green parties, four of whom revealed that they had personally been abused.”

As it turned out, “Labour MP, Poto Williams, who was thrown out of the debating chamber, told the Herald that she took Mr Key’s comment personally.

“He said I supported the act of rape and rapists. That’s how it felt. And other victims would have heard those words directed to them too.”

Later, “the Labour MP said she was in an abusive relationship for five years in her early 20s.

“She had previously only told a handful of family members of her sexual assault.”

As for Green Party co-leader Metiria Turei, the story is that “she unsuccessfully sought an apology from Mr Key, saying that as a victim of an assault, she was offended by his comments.” 

And so today,  here in relatively isolated Samoa, our word of caution to our old tyke of a swashbuckling Prime Minister, Tuilaepa Sailelele  Malielegaoi, is this: Please stop panicking. 

Be reminded that there are a lot more stories of incest and rape being published in newspapers everywhere around New Zealand, and yet the last time we looked, we noticed that no one cared.

And so, our word to our old tyke of a swashbuckling Prime Minister, Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi, is this: Please stop panicking. 

Now that Samoa Airways, which is under your tutelage and control anyway is in the air, we assure you that before you know it, thousands and thousands of them will soon be flocking to Samoa.

And that way, soon you will be clapping happily since this time, all you’ll have to do, is choose wisely from now on.

In the meantime, there is nothing else to do but remain  foccused, on never again having to be despised bitterly as it’d been in the not so distant past, when Polynesian Airlines was grounded and Samoa’s dream ended.

Just  reminder anyway.

© Samoa Observer 2016

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