16 Mar 2017

Pacific watchdog says Pohiva should remember roots

6:52 am on 16 March 2017

A regional media watchdog says the stance Tonga's Prime Minister has taken on the country's state broadcaster doesn't fit 'Akilisi Pohiva's history of democratic activism.

Mr Pohiva wants to review the role of the Tonga Broadcasting Commission because he said the broadcaster was not doing its job of facilitating government work.

He had gone as far as to describe it as 'an enemy of government' and said the services may be better carried out by a different provider.

But the Pacific Freedom Forum said the threats and statements send the wrong message.

PFF Chair Monica Miller said as a former pro-democracy reform movement, the current government should remember its roots.

"'Akilisi Pohiva was this crusading newspaper editor speaking out for freedom of information and speaking out for the people's right to know, freedom of expression. So for him to say these things, doesn't sound like the 'Akilisi we know,"she said.

Monica Miller said it was not the job of any news media to support the government of the day, but to represent the public and their interests.