Pacific Freedom Forum
"MILK ban unhealthy for Samoa, says Pacific Freedom Forum"
For immediate release: Friday 17th April 2009: The Pacific Freedom Forum has expressed its concern over the banning of the Sean Penn film, 'Milk', as reported by the New Zealand Herald on April 9, 2009.
Samoa is the only nation worldwide where censors have specifically banned the multi-academy award winning film, which means those in Samoa will only see the pirated version or overseas-purchased copies smuggled into the country.
"While we respect the need for censors to rule in the public interest, we say the personal bias of censors should not be allowed to overtake a ruling in that interest," says PFF chair Susuve Laumaea of Papua New Guinea. He says the authority of censorship should not be taken lightly, as is entails trust from the general public that decisions will be fair.
"The Pacific Freedom Forum calls on the Samoan film censors to fully and transparently explain themselves to the Samoan people, and re-consider its decision on banning 'Milk'," he says.
"Perhaps the ban, final though the board claim it is, means the Samoan authorities have a responsibility to the people to fully explain their reasons for their decision," says PFF co-chair Monica Miller, of American Samoa.
"It is critical that the censorship board account clearly for their wish to protect the people of Samoa from viewing this film, when other films depicting violence, sometimes graphic violence, are readily available in Samoan outlets," she says.
"Given the acclaim this film has received worldwide, and given the silence on exactly why it has been banned in Samoa, observers are left to wonder at the censorship standards being applied in a country where fa'afafine have a well established and respected role," says Miller. ENDS
PFF interim Chair
Susuve Laumaea | Sunday Chronicle Newspaper | Papua New Guinea
Mobile: 675-684 5168 | Office: 675-321-7040 | Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
PFF interim co-Chair
Monica Miller | KHJ Radio | American Samoa
Mob 684 258-4197 | Office 684 633-7793 | Email: email@example.com
The Pacific Freedom Forum are a regional and global online network of Pacific media colleagues, with the specific intent of raising awareness and advocacy of the right of Pacific people to enjoy freedom of expression and be served by a free and independent media.
We believe in the critical and basic link between these freedoms, and the vision of democratic and participatory governance pledged by our leaders in their endorsement of the Pacific Plan and other commitments to good governance.
In support of the above, our key focus is monitoring threats to media freedom and bringing issues of concern to the attention of the wider regional and international community.
. . .