PIMA slams Samoan newspaper over image of deceased

By Semi Holland

The NZ Pacific Island Media Association (PIMA) will be lodging a formal complaint to the Samoa Observer newsgroup after one of its newspapers published a photograph of a dead transgender woman. The Sunday Samoa paper also reported the 20 year old died of a suspected suicide. 

NZ Pacific Island Media Association (PIMA) spokesperson Judy Bataillard says the organisation is appalled by Sunday Samoa's decision.

Bataillard says, “We will send a complaint certainly to SON which is the Samoa observer newsgroup. We're expressing our concerns on that kind of coverage its appalling in breach of ethics and standards of journalism.”

Sunday Samoa published the article on its front page with a photograph of a dead transgender female whom the paper says died of a suspected suicide. The issue is a sister paper of the Samoa Observer.

Bataillard says, ““It is appalling.  I have no idea why they went ahead to publish those photographs especially when it is insensitive content.”

The deceased was a 20-year old computer student who was a regular at the catholic church. Bataillard says PIMA hopes their formal complaint will help the Samoa Observer be more vigilant with its reporting.

Bataillard says, “It’s going to entail the breach of ethics.  It’s also going to entail the insensitive nature in which they ran the story.”

There was also outrage on Facebook with some branding the story as insensitive.  Bataillard says the issue also raises questions around the treatment of the transgender and gay community in Samoa.

Bataillard says, ““I think they need to be sensitive towards the nature of how they run their stories.  Once they've got this story out they need to be able to try and put things in place where they'll be able to send a message out to those that may be going through those kind of situations- where they may feel isolated or not part of the community.”

PIMA will submit their formal complaint later this week.

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