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Controversial church pastor taken off air in Samoa

Samoa Independent Seventh Day Adventist Church in Apia
Source: RNZ Pacific

Apia, SAMOA — A commercial TV station in Samoa says it will no longer screen sermons by Pastor Willie Papu, the leader of the Samoan Independent Seventh Day Adventist Church.

The pastor is alleged to have made statements, during his paid programme, vilifying other Christian denominations in Samoa as well as the Prime Minister.

Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi has threated to file legal action against the broadcaster and pastor warning them to expect the government's "full legal wrath".

In a statement the chief executive of TV1, Galumalemana Fai'esea Lei Sam, apologised to the country saying it was not the intention of the station to discredit any person or church or cause division among religous organisations in Samoa.

"We take pride in providing equal access to broadcasting services to all members of our community," Galumalemana said.

"Censorship of church ministers' sermons has never been seen as necessary, we count on the integrity and noble judgments of Church Leaders and all Servants of God when it comes to matters of spiritual teachings," he said.

According to the Samoa Observer the prime minister has instructed the attorney general to initiate a "libel and criminal probe" into the incident.