13 Jun 2003

Tongan newspaper publisher hopes parliament will reject new controls on the media

10:50 am on 13 June 2003

The publisher of the Taimi O Tonga newspaper, Kalafi Moala, says there is hope that Parliament will reject a planned constitutional change that would place severe restrictions on the media.

The New Zealand-produced paper, which had been banned since February because of its allegedly seditious views, was back on sale yesterday, after the government complied with a court ruling that the paper be released.

Mr Moala says they were elated to get the go ahead and all two thousand copies of a two and a half week old edition sold - at half price - within two hours.

But he says the new legislation, aimed at curbing the media and removing Privy Council rulings from judicial review, remains a serious threat.

He says he's hoping the government will come to its senses.

"I have got the word that there is among the members of parliament - even among the nobles - they're really talking about rejecting this bill that is coming in. And so there is hope that parliament will not pass this bill."