The General Secretary of the Congregational Christian Church of Samoa (C.C.C.S), Reverend Vavatau Taufao, was not in a good mood yesterday.
He was particularly unhappy about the Samoa Observer.
He told off Ilia L. Likou, a reporter from this newspaper in front of another media colleague.
“Are you from the Samoa Observer?” he asked.
“Yes Reverend,” Ms. Likou responded.
“I don’t want you (to interview me) and I’m not joking. I am very serious.”
When Ms. Likou insisted on questions pertaining to the opening of the Jubilee church building, Rev. Taufao would not have any of it.
He flatly told her to go away. He insisted that he only wanted to talk to a reporter from Radio New Zealand International.
“I can’t comment while this girl here,” he said.
At that point, Ms. Likou walked away.
“I’m not just a reporter for the Samoa Observer, I am a member of this church,” she said.
“I was just there to do my job. If there is something he is unhappy about in terms of the coverage, he should address this with my bosses. It was unprofessional of him to treat me the way he did.”
Ms. Ilia said she was embarrassed.
“This is a church. I would expect this sort of treatment from another organisation but having being subjected to it in my own church, I am very disappointed.”
Later during the official ceremony to open the facility, Ms. Likou and other media colleagues were banned from inside the building during the opening service.
The General Secretary made an announcement on the PA system that all media were not allowed inside during the opening ceremony, except for the E.F.K.S Media.
Another reporter from a state-run media told the Samoa Observer she was extremely disappointed about the treatment of the media.
The media was not allowed to take photos, or footages inside the Jubilee building.