12 Jun 2003

Tongan government bows to court order on newspaper ban

4:54 pm on 12 June 2003

The government of Tonga has finally agreed that the Taimi O Tonga newspaper can be distributed in the Kingdom after banning the paper for three months over its allegedly seditious content.

The decision came this afternoon after the paper's management had issued an ultimatum threatening to file for contempt of court.

This comes after the Supreme Court on Monday ordered the government to release the paper and not treat the paper as a prohibited, unauthorised or restricted import.

The government and 11 Cabinet Ministers named in the injunction were told to immediately withdraw any instructions to prevent the free movement of the paper into the country.

But the government sought a stay which the chief justice last night rejected.

The publisher, Kalafi Moala, says staff are now picking the two week old edition of the paper up from Customs for immediate distribution.