Media & Attorney General to collaborate on Media Council law

JAWS delegation led by President Uale Tamalelagi and AG Aumua Leung Wau and head of the Law Reform Commission Leilani Warren and lawyer Constance Rivers

JAWS delegation led by President Uale Tamalelagi and AG Aumua Leung Wau and head of the Law Reform Commission Leilani Warren and lawyer Constance Rivers

APIA: MONDAY: 15 JULY 2013: The Journalists Association of Sāmoa (JAWS) and the Attorney Generals office, will collaborate in drafting legislation to establish a Media Council in Samoa.

The follows a meeting between the Attorney General, Aumua Ming Leung Wai, the Executive Director of the Sāmoa Law Reform Commission and the Executive of the Journalists Association of Sāmoa at the Tui Atua Tupua Tamasese Efi Building Friday afternoon, 12th July 2013.

In a joint press statement after the meeting, “the parties have agreed that to ensure a draft law that reflects both concerns of the media and protection of the public, collaboration and cooperation is essential.

“The Attorney General’s Office, Law Reform Commission and JAWS have agreed to work together in developing a draft Bill,” the statement said.

“The draft is expected to cover establishment of a media council that can formalize the standards for accurate, balanced and fair reporting, adoption of a media code of practice and measures for compliance with the Code.

“Meetings are expected to continue between the parties within the coming weeks,” said the statement.

JAWS had earlier raised concerns over how the legislation will be perceived if it is drafted by the Attorney Generals office alone. This led to the collaboration after which a draft will be open to scrutiny by JAWS members and its own legal advice.

The Attorney General says the draft is made easier following wide consultation between the Law Reform Commission and JAWS and the report from those consultations will be the basis of the draft legislation.

Government has so far repealed the criminal libel law following an understanding with JAWS to set up a Media Council that will be regulated by the media.

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