Culture of fear exists in Tonga media – publisher

pohiva

NUKU’ALOFA-May 4: 3:08pm(RNZI/ABC): Journalists fear doing their jobs after Tongan Prime Minister sacked leaders of the Tonga Broadcasting Commission, according to prominent publisher Kalafi Moala.

‘Akilisi Pohiva has forced the state broadcaster’s chair Tapu Panuve to resign, is looking to replace the general manager Nanise Fifita and has not ruled out other changes.

“They’ve held her responsible for the kind of news information and attitude toward government that the journalists of the TBC have,” he said.

“Public broadcasting is basically a role to serve the people of Tonga, the nation of Tonga, and whatever government is in power at that particular time, that doesn’t mean that they end up controlling what goes out of Tonga broadcasting commission,” Moala told ABC

Moala said he had a special media panel organised to mark World Press Freedom Day on Wednesday but no one turned up.

“It’s affecting press freedom, its bringing a culture of fear upon other journalists and media organisations and it is really bad that here we are commemorating World Press Freedom day and we are having some huge problems here in Tonga.”

Moala said it is a very low point for journalists working in Tonga.

He said he was jailed back in 1996 with ‘Akilisi Pohiva for contempt of parliament for publishing something they weren’t supposed to.

But Moala said now Pōhiva’s perception seemed to be that media should always support him and his initiatives, rather than asking too many hard questions of his leadership.



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