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Samoa paper under pressure over stigmata girl story

 Samoan police headquarters in Apia Photo: RNZI/Sally Round

The editor of the Samoa Observer newspaper is raising media freedom concerns after police searched the paper's premises looking for the identity of an online blogger.

The police action followed the paper publishing a letter about a girl who showed signs on her body of the stigmata, or marks similar to those Jesus suffered in the crucifixion.

The girl's family complained to police claiming the blogger's comment was defamatory and untrue.

But the editor, Mata'afa Keni Lesa, denied this.

"I think certainly it sets a very dangerous precedent for this country, in terms of media freedom. I mean, what happens next? I mean anyone who writes a letter or anything that they don't like, and then they can go to the police, who then turn up with a search warrant, and that to me is very concerning."