9 Jun 2003

Fiji's CCF

3:24 pm on 9 June 2003

The Fiji-based Citizens Constitutional Forum says the Tongan government's latest moves agains the media are an over-reaction to a developing culture of democracy in the country.

The Tongan government is moving to change its constitution to abolish judicial review and further restrict media freedom.

The government has rejected a Supreme court ruling that it is unconstitutional to ban the Auckland-published newspaper Taime O'Tonga.

The Forum says all the people of the South Pacific who believe in constitutionalism and the rule of law must condem Tonga's actions.

It's spokesman, Jone Dakuvula, says it can't defend its action in terms of preserving traditional culture as the constitution was drawn up by a foreigner for the Tongans:

"What we have to recognize is that our culture has changed alot and the rule of law has never been accepted in our culture as important because it brings about regularity in government and also a system of justice which is accepted by all therefore our culture has changed a lot."

Spokesman for the Fiji-based Citizens Constitutional Forum, Jone Dakuvula