10 Apr 2008

PINA calls for end to Tonga media clampdown

11:57 am on 10 April 2008

The Pacific Islands News Association, PINA, has called for restrictions imposed on journalists at the Tonga state broadcaster to be lifted.

Two weeks out from the elections the Tonga Broadcasting Commission has imposed a ban on journalists hosting political programmes.

It says any programmes will need the approval of a committee of management and the TBC board.

Joseph Ealedona, the Papua New Guinea based president of PINA, says such political influence is not good for the people of Tonga.

He says the TBC should be allowed to play its role as a public broadcaster.

"If the Government of Tonga is restricting the rights, especially people standing for election, to speak about the politics or issues in Tonga then that is not good, and PINA calls on the Government of Tonga to restrain itself from pushing too far - stopping people from free speech."