The latest Press Freedom Index from Reporters Without Borders placed Samoa 111th out of 178 countries.
Since 2011, the Samoa Law Reform Commission has been looking at how a regulatory council might be able to help.
The Commission has just released a report on its findings.
Speaker:Leilani Tuala-Warren, executive director, Law Reform Commission, Samoa
TUALA-WARREN: Well, the terms of reference that were given to us by our government was to look at an appropriate form of a news council or media council.
COUTTS: But within those terms of reference, you must have looked at how the media was performing to have any kind of response to it and access the need for a regulatory council?
TUALA-WARREN: Well, we did consult widely with the media and the majority of them wanted some sort of self regulatory body. I think what they were concerned about is not only was basically training within the media industry, as well as accurate and honest reporting.
COUTTS: What were they saying to you, what were their concerns?
TUALA-WARREN: Well, their concerns was that they wanted to get this up and running for awhile, there is notably one big player in the media industry who does not agree with this thing, but the majority of them have wanted something along these lines for a very long time. We wanted an enforcible code of ethics or code of practice, so they had been looking at it for a very long time, so a lot of them were quite appreciative that this had been pushed forward, that this had gained a bit of momentum, because the government in giving it to the Law Reform Commission basically saying we want to consult, we want to know what they think, we want to know what players in the media industry think, how do they think they should be regulated. So I think it was quite good that the government had given to the Law Reform Commission instead of the government going ahead and drafting some piece of legislation without consultation. So I think this was a really good movement and much appreciated by people in the media industry.
COUTTS: Well, what regulations are you or does your report recommend?
TUALA-WARREN: OK, we're recommending that the media industry themselves set up their own sort of self-regulation News Council or Media Council. We've suggested some ways they can do that, but we've said to them we think it's important that within the next two years, that they look at setting something up. Because the gist of their recommendations were and their submissions were that they wanted to have control of this process, they wanted to be in charge of the sort of body that is formed to regulate them. So we have said OK, we believe that this is feasible, we believe that can do it within the next 24 months and then we'll have another review at the end of that two year period.