MEDIA RELEASE: Samoa Observer Sues: $2m

MEDIA RELEASE: Samoa Observer sues Blogger for $2m

DATE ISSUED: 7 October 2015

PERMALINK: http://www.dennis.co.nz/2015/10/media-release-samoa-observer-sues-2m

MEDIA CONTACT: Dennis A. Smith
dennis@dennis.co.nz
+685 777-9999

Documents filed in the Supreme Court of Samoa, reveal that Samoa Observer, Samoa’s largest independent newspaper is suing Investigative Blogger, Dennis A. Smith for $2m (WST) and legal costs.

Claiming defamation, the Statement of Defence and Counterclaim states that the Blogger “has defamed [them] and Mr Malifa” and “has caused much embarrassment, distress and inconvenience”. As a result of the claimed defamation Samoa Observer is asking the court to award $1.5m (WST) in compensation and “exemplary and punitive damages in the sum of SAT$500,000”.

Mr Smith has blogged extensively about the owner and Editor-in-Chief Savea Sano Malifa, with a post from February 2013 entitled “Savea Sano Malifa Fooled by Gossip” the cause of the defamation case.

“One has to ask why it takes more than two and a half years for Samoa Observer to act on such an ‘important matter’ of defamation,” Mr Smith says. “Perhaps it is because I had the temerity to sue them for $3,500.00, for work that I did for them and they didn’t pay?”

In a series of hard hitting blogs Mr Smith tells Samoa Observer to “toughen up and grow up” and suggests that their defamation case may be either a “cynical response to attempt to bully a Blogger” or that they are a “pretty fragile company”.

He gives his analysis of the Defence and Counterclaim stating that it “requires a large dollop of blind faith to believe; belies logic; contains factual error and is a disgrace to those who value truth and justice”. In an example of errors of fact he shows photographs of more published articles than Samoa Observer claims they published and further states, “this is not a simple unimportant detail that a busy Editor-in-Chief got a little bit wrong – it is the central claim of fact in their defence!”.

Talking of the risk of losing a $2m defamation case, Mr Smith says, “The risk will be worth it to see the bastion of Samoan journalism integrity lie under oath” and concludes with a challenge, “Bring it on Samoa Observer! Bring it on!”

“While no stranger to the Samoan courts following decades of litigation this is the first time that the MSM in Samoa has taken on a Blogger that I’m aware of.”

The hearing will be scheduled for first mention in the Supreme Court of Samoa on Tuesday, 13 October 2015.

The Samoa Observer Series:

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  1. […] the recent court actions in Samoa where Samoa Observer has sued me for $2m defamation, and a large investigation developing that I will be announcing shortly, I […]

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