The press councils of Australia and New Zealand have joined with the local branches of the Commonwealth Press Union to condemn the banning of the Taimi' O Tonga newspaper by the Tongan Government.
They describe the action as a severe incursion into free speech and the rights of a free media.
The Chairman of the New Zealand Press Council, Sir John Jeffries, says he hopes this statement will be taken more seriously than other recent criticisms:
"That's why three press council's have combined with the CTUs in the hope that the government of Tonga might take some notice of the actions that they are taking and they are not in accord with a free democracy that must have a free press."
The Chairman of the New Zealand Press Council, Sir John Jeffries