CIS – Fourth Estate – Samoa Observer

Chapter 10.

The Samoa Observer is the primary daily Samoan newspaper. Established some 40 years ago and run by a Samoan businessman (Savea Sano Malifa1) it claims a long track-record in taking on the Government of the day and standing up for the little guy.

This claim is true to some extent and it can be rightly viewed as a mix between a newspaper, a tabloid and a Fourth Estate watchdog in many respects. Their tendency to rush to press with one-sided stories and shallow investigative work is balanced with long-term tenacity on some important matters of exposing corruption.

In the last decade or so, as the owner has aged, and personalities have clashed between him and the current Prime Minister, quality of thought has mainly come from other editors who can have some good points at times but are rarely able to drill down into the real root cause of Samoa’s ills. While a challenge to speak words of wisdom daily as an editor of a newspaper, their response to corruption tends towards bleating and tut-tutting.

The owner of Samoa Observer is widely viewed as a crook2 as multiple people I have spoken to have recounted not getting a fair deal or simply not getting paid from him. I’ve detailed his foolishness in previous commentary and blogging but he’s a proud businessman driven by money, making it and protecting it. His number one concern is clearly to make money and to not get sued in the process.

His staff fear him and submit, for obvious reasons.

The paper does take up the stories of the small guy hard done-by on occasion but these stories are quite often shallow, one-sided and are countered in due course by official denials and cover-ups.

The Samoan government led by Prime Minister Tuila’epa appear to tolerate the paper and their stories but certainly do not respect them. I’ve noticed some good strikes from the paper in the five years that I have been here but the many more losses than successes indicate a gross inefficiency in terms of dealing with Corruption in Samoa meaningfully. They are a voice, but little more than that.

I would counsel people on the end of Corruption to seek Samoa Observer’s support in leveraging their exposure but wouldn’t hold my breath on any meaningful change.

Savea Sano Malifa – Fooled by Gossip3

The background

I came to Samoa from New Zealand in September 2009 and immigrated in February 2010.

I’ve blogged extensively about the Samoan culture, particularly in the context of the Christian world-view. This is my interest and I guess you could say it is a passion of mine.

My third book, A little Slice of Paradise is currently pending publication and talks a lot about the Samoan culture alongside the factual events of my first few years in Paradise.

I approached Savea on the 5th October 2012 (more than three years after I first came to Samoa), introduced myself, chatted a while with him in his office and told him that I would be interested in writing a column “Palagi Perspectives”, and shared a little of the planned subjects.

We agreed to a deal – I would write 300-600 words weekly (as long as it “made people think and didn’t get him sued”) and he’d run one daily classified advertisement for me, which was a roughly agreed equivalent value. I summarised this conversation and our agreement by email to Savea that same afternoon. He instructed his staff accordingly.
I blogged about the new challenge at the time4.

I delivered, on time as promised and Samoa Observer published the columns for several months.

Samoa Observer though didn’t deliver the advertisements as agreed. Despite several calls over those months, and follow-up visits, Samoa Observer dropped the ball badly. They didn’t or wouldn’t reconcile my account, although the Editor did recognise that they “should honour any deal they agreed to”.

Savea got news from his Editor that I had suggested that to rectify historical matters, he should just pay me for the missing adverts and start the adverts running properly, then he fired me off an email that contained a little bit of flowery language, basically telling me to F*** off!

Great eh?

Corruption, greed, foolishness and arrogance from the Fourth Estate!

You can read the entire sorry details of this saga online, if you’re interested, with the actual communications and my commentary. It’s quite sad to see the ugly pride of an old Samoan man, one who could be resting on his laurels with a lifetime of service to his country and the industry he worked in for decades, yet just shown up for being another greedy racist Samoan lacking in integrity the same as many others.

But that’s corruption in Samoa outworked yet again, for you!


Samoa Observer’s Big F*ck-Up

samoa-observer-suicide-apologySamoa Observer’s Sunday edition published a photograph of a Samoan Faafafine who had recently committed suicide. Journalists around the world know VERY WELL that putting photos of dead people hanging is something you JUST DON’T DO – let alone with a homosexual! These guys not only did it on the front page, it was full-face identifiable body shot! Interested more in how they were responding to the negative feedback, I read many of the commentaries deliberately avoiding any links that may contain the photo, but unfortunately stumbled upon it despite my best efforts. My heart stopped, the hair went up on my neck and I exclaimed aloud, “Oh Fuck!” [yes literally]. This was a REAL F*ck-Up of the highest order, even for a tabloid. Then the owner of the local rag refused to comment, defended once, then apologised – sort-of! Samoa Observer, you’ve made another HUGE mistake! [Read more…]

Samoa Observer’s SobStory – SobServer

samoa-observer-google-going-goingSamoa Observer (Samoa’s local tabloid) is AGAIN in deep doodoo (and no it’s nothing to do with me suing them or them suing me!) it’s again their amateurish approach to IT matters, especially online. In this post I demonstrate that yet again Samoa Observer is poised to lose all their online history on Google, a worst case scenario for anyone interested in making or maintaining a web presence. I give them warning and advice.  [Read more…]

Credibility: Samoa Observer vs Blogger

defending-on-the-truthIn this post I share the entire contents of my Statement of Defence (and Counter-Counterclaim) in the $2m defamation case in the Supreme Court of Samoa, Samoa Observer vs Dennis Arthur Smith. I’m “going” on truth, nothing else. It’s now a full scale credibility war between the MSM and a blogger; between a Samoan High Chief and a Palagi (foreigner); a rich man vs poor man; a socially connected & powerful man vs a virtual social outcast. Legal Eagles will likely find it interesting.
[Read more…]

Samoa Observer – The Facts Please

tell-the-truth-pleaseMy motion lodged in the Supreme Court of Samoa today requests that Samoa Observer resubmit their Statement of Defence based on reality and not fabrications. Their lawyer, Rosella Viane Papalii will likely be scratching her head over this one because it’s a pretty direct backhanded swipe at her Statement of Defence and in some ways could be a taunt along the lines in sport, “Oh, please can have a better team to compete against?” Ouch! [Read more…]

The Two Million Tala Palagi

cover-600-ttmtpIn this post I announce the publication of my latest book (I think that makes it twelve in various stages of release). It’s a book that exposes misconduct from the owner and Editor-in-Chief of Samoa’s leading newspaper. The book contains a copy of all communications, blogs and legal documents including a $2m defamation case against me. This book is the journalistic equivalent to a single figure salute to a man whom I have shown to be not only fooled by gossip, but also his company to be a routine thief and recently proven a liar acting in malice, self-interest and total disregard for Christian ethics that his proud Samoan culture claims for itself. Enjoy now as I share the background to its publication and more . . .  [Read more…]

MEDIA RELEASE: Samoa Observer Sues: $2m

MEDIA RELEASE: Samoa Observer sues Blogger for $2m

DATE ISSUED: 7 October 2015


MEDIA CONTACT: Dennis A. Smith
+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”. [Read more…]

Suing Samoa Observer

samoaobserver-gunsightsThis post is one in a series about the shady conduct of Samoa Observer. I step forward with an offer of practical help to anyone who has been ripped off (past events or in the future). I’ll help you sue them. Not only will I do that – I’ll do it for no commercial benefit for myself. And the reason? I’m so p*ssed off at the shame that they’ve brought to the industry I work in and the country I live in that I want to do any and everything I can to rectify the matters. [Read more…]

Observations on Samoa Observer

samoa-observer-stolenIn previous posts I have pinged the Samoa Observer for ‘lacking a little’ in the ethics department, though they’re certainly not short of bleating about others’ misconduct! In this post I dig a little bit deeper and give an example of the type of shonky deals that the Samoa Observer gets up to. As always with BS like this the buck stops with the guy at the top, in this case not only the Editor-in-Chief Savea Sano Malifa, but I believe, the Editor too, Mata’afa Keni Lesa. [Read more…]

Open Letter – Samoa Observer

samoa-observer-judgeIn a recent court hearing in Samoa, the ‘local rag’ Samoa Observer has Counterclaimed $2m offering a ‘dodgy’ defence document containing outright lies and more. This concludes (for the moment) a sorry saga in the history of Samoan journalism. I first blogged about this in 2013 when I effectively called the owner and Editor-in-Chief, Savea Sano Malifa, a fool. He has now proved himself to be an unethical businessman (in simple words, a crook) and thus by extension his newspaper two-faced hypocrites. While this operation is high profile and pontificates extensively over moral issues, they are actually a danger to the Samoan business community. Others who have likewise been ripped off should take a good look at this development and seriously consider commencing their own litigation, for exposure and court cases seems to have their attention. And yes, there are certainly more than me who have been stung by these people!

[Read more…]