The Government is finally moving to implement a policy they had passed into law some 24 years ago in relation to newspapers.
The Ministry of Justice and Courts Administration (M.J.C.A.) has announced the plan to implement the registration fee for all newspapers under the Newspapers and Printers Act 1993.
This was confirmed by M.J.C.A. Chief Executive Officer, Papali’i John Taimalelagi, who said the law has been in place since 1993.
Asked why this was not implemented 24 years ago, Papali’i said they only recently uncovered the lapse during a review of the Acts mandated under the Ministry.
“My role as C.E.O. is to review acts mandated under M.J.C.A,” he said.
“I came cross the required registration for all newspapers as indicated under the Newspapers and Printers Act 1993 and yet it has never been implemented in the past.
“This is part of M.J.C.A.’s Legislative Compliance and we are required to review and uphold the Acts mandated under our Ministry,” said Papali’i.
In a letter by Papali’i to all newspapers circulating in Samoa dated 7 February 2018, Papali’i said he hopes the “process will not be too onerous” for everyone involved. The fee is a $100.
“Pursuant to sections 3 and 4 of the Newspapers and Printers Act 1993 (“the Act”), notice is hereby given to all newspapers in circulation in Samoa as of 7 February, 2018, that no person shall print or publish a newspaper unless it is registered with the Registrar of the Supreme Court,” Papali’i’s letter reads.
“A newspaper means a paper containing public news or observations which is printed for sale or distribution and is published in Samoa periodically at intervals not exceeding three months.”
Papali’i, in the notice, says an affidavit template has been given to the newspaper companies on the schedule of the Act which needs to be duly sworn and signed by each of the persons intending to be the Publishers and printers and Editor of the newspaper.
“If the publisher is a company, the affidavit can be sworn and signed by the manager or by any of its directors.
“The registration will be annual.
“I will send a notice in the month of January every year to invite your re-registration before February 1 on a given year.
“The filing fee for registration is $100. I ask that you attend to registrations before 1 March 2018.”
WHAT THE ACT SAYS: Section 3 and 4
3. Unregistered newspapers not to be printed or published - No person shall print or publish a newspaper unless it is for the time being registered under this Act.
4. Registration of newspapers –
(1) If a person desires to publish a newspaper, the person shall lodge with the Registrar of the Supreme Court an affidavit in Form 1 in the Schedule to this Act duly sworn and signed by each of the persons intended to be the publishers and printers and editor of the newspaper,
(2) If the publisher or printer is a company, the affidavit is to be sworn and signed on behalf of the company by the manager oo by any of its directors.
(3) If the publisher or printer of a newspaper is an incorporated society, the affidavit is to be sworn and signed on behalf of the society by any of its officers.
(4) On receipt of the affidavit, the Registrar shall enter the name of the newspaper in a register, and it shall thereupon be deemed to be registered.
(5) If at any time a change occurs in any of the particulars stated in the affidavit, a further affidavit sworn and signed as aforesaid and specifying the change is to be lodged by the publisher with the Registrar.
(6) If a newspaper has been registered under this Act, the publisher shall, during the next succeeding month of January and during the month of January in each year thereafter, lodge with the Registrar a notice in Form 2 in the Schedule to this Act signed by the publisher or, where the publisher is a company or an incorporated society, by the manager or a director of the company or an officer of the society, as the case maybe.
(7) If the notice referred to in subsection (6) has not been lodged with the registrar before 1 February in a year, the registration of the newspaper under this Act shall cease to have effect on that date, but the newspaper may be reregistered under this section.