|Official Country Name:||Independent State of Western Samoa|
|Region (Map name):||Oceania|
Samoa, a group of nine volcanic islands in the South Pacific Ocean midway between Hawaii and New Zealand, was known as Western Samoa until 1997. Formerly governed by Germany, New Zealand took over its administration at the outset of World War II. Samoa declared independence from New Zealand in 1962, becoming the first nation in the region to reestablish independence in the twentieth century. Nevertheless, Samoa is considered to be one of the world's least developed countries. The official languages are Samoan and English. The population is around 179,000, and the literacy rate is 97 percent. The state is led by a chief, who serves until death. A prime minister heads the government and presides over a 49-seat Legislative Assembly. Samoa's economy is highly dependent on fishing and agriculture, but is trying to diversify by promoting tourism, offshore banking and light manufacturing.
Media freedom in Samoa is extremely limited. Opposition parties have no access to print media and only limited access to radio and television, which are state-run. The country's main daily newspaper, the Samoa Observer, is independent, but has been sued repeatedly for reporting on alleged corruption and abuse of public office. Attacks on the newspaper include a suspicious fire that burned its printing press, an assault on the editor by relatives of a government minister, and withdrawal of advertising by local businesses. The Samoa Observer prints every day but Monday, and is available online. The country's other daily is the Samoa Times. Both dailies publish in English. Le Samoa, a weekly, appears every Tuesday in both English and Samoan. It archives English-language articles online and is developing its own Web site. Savali, a government-run newspaper, publishes every fortnight in Samoan and English. It is developing a Web page on the government's Web site.
There are four radio stations, one AM and three FM, serving around 178,000 radios. Six television stations broadcast to around 11,000 televisions. There are two Internet service providers.
"Country Profile: Samoa." BBC News. (n.d.). Available from http://news.bbc.co.uk/ .
"Country Report—Samoa." Australian Press Council (n.d.). Available from http://www.presscouncil.org.au/ .
"List of Past Publications." Le Samoa. (2000). Available from http://www.samoa.ws/lesamoa/ .
"Samoa." Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). In The World Fact Book 2001. Available from http:// www.cia.gov/cia/publications/factbook/geos/ws.html .
Savali. (1999). Available from http://www.samoa.ws/ govtsamoapress/savali_newspaper.htm .
Jenny B. Davis