16 Mar 2017

Tongan noble says PM plans are unconstitutional

3:55 pm on 16 March 2017

A Noble Representative in Tonga says closing down the state broadcaster would be unconstitutional.

Noble Representative Lord Fusitu'a

Noble Representative Lord Fusitu'a Photo: twitter

Prime Minister 'Akilisi Pohiva wants to review the Tonga Broadcasting Commission because he says the broadcaster is not doing its job of facilitating government work.

He described the TBC as "an enemy of government" and said the services may be better carried out by a different provider.

However Lord Fusitu'a said any move to shut down the TBC would be in breach of the constitution.

He said there was also a Tonga Broadcasting Act which would need to be revoked and would have far-reaching ramifications.

"The very basis of any Westminster democracy is the rule of law and once you chip away at freedom of speech, freedom of expression, freedom of the press, you are chipping away at the rule of law which ends up, in most cases, disregard to the rule of law. Which is extremely destructive to any democracy of any sort."