11 Feb 2008

Tonga state broadcaster to give all parties air time opportunity

4:45 pm on 11 February 2008

The Tonga Broadcasting Corporation says that all political parties will have equal opportunity for air-time leading up to the General Elecions in late April.

The TBC manager, Elenoa Amanaki, says that political programmes and reporting must follow certain regulations.

Ms Amanaki says new guidelines are now in place for free and balanced political news coverage and reporting.

This follows an "in house clean-up" campaign that she says TBC underwent following public complaints last year about the professionalism and balance of its political reporting.

"There will be a set format. We have got policies or conditions that will be given out to all people or candidates who want to use television or radio for their campaign. I think we've been fair, but when they go outside the set of conditions that have been set, then I have to stick to the laws and regulations."

Elenoa Amanaki says programmes will be censored to prevent any further defamation suits against TBC when personal attacks and criticisms are made against other persons or political groups.