The eight regulations were issued by Tonga’s Ministry of Communications in an infringement notice via the Ministry of Information and Communications. Media groups said the regulations undermine the Constitutional provision guaranteeing press freedom.
The manager and two staffers of the Tonga public broadcaster were suspended over a series of allegations, including attempts to incite distrust against the prime minister and the government.
Two senior editors of the Tonga Broadcasting Commission who previously clashed with the prime minister were transferred to the sales department.
A wrongful dismissal complaint being brought against the government of Tonga by the sacked General Manager of the national broadcaster will help to educate the public and politicians on the independent public-interest role of national broadcasters, says PFF.
IFEX members call on the Prime Minister of Tonga to cease threats of suspension of journalist Viola Ulakai and respect his past commitment to press freedom in the country.
“A media industry which welcomes and responds to public complaints sets a standard of credibility because it helps raise public awareness of what a free and vibrant media achieves,” said PFF Chair Susuve Laumaea.
PFF believes that an open and transparent media complaints process could have kept 12 media workers employed and a controversial FM radio station on the air.
Signs that Tonga’s new leadership will review the longstanding entry ban on New Zealand journalist Michael Field are being welcomed by PFF.
The communications minister’s mention of plans to legislate print media controls “must be fully exposed and debated in a free and open media environment,” says PFF.
PINA voices concern over restrictions in national broadcaster’s political programming in lead up to elections
(PINA/IFEX) – The following is a 23 April 2008 PINA press release: The Pacific Islands News Association has called on the Government of the Kingdom of Tonga to allow free speech and access to media as it heads towards its general elections later this month. President Joseph Ealedona said the introduction of restrictions by the […]
(PINA/IFEX) – The following is a 13 October 2004 PINA statement: PINA Hails Tonga media ruling REGION – The Pacific Islands News Association ( PINA) has hailed a ruling by Chief Justice Webster declaring the Media Operators Act 2003 and the Newspapers Act 2003 in the kingdom of Tonga void. PINA President Faumuina Lance Polu […]
(RSF/IFEX) – RSF has condemned the arrest of pro-democracy activist Alani Taione on 18 February 2004. Taione was arrested for distributing about 20 copies of the banned news weekly “Taimi ‘o Tonga” (“Times of Tonga”) upon his arrival in Tonga from New Zealand, where he resides. In open defiance of governmental censorship, Taione brandished a […]
(CPJ/IFEX) – In a 17 February 2004 letter to King Taufa’ahau Tupou IV, CPJ expressed its grave concern about the government’s use of restrictive new media laws to silence several publications in Tonga. In 2003, the government passed two new regulations governing the media. The Newspaper Act requires all publications in Tonga to be licensed […]