10 Feb 2004

Tongan editor rejects claim that Tonga no longer has independent media

5:18 pm on 10 February 2004

The Editor of the Tonga Star, Sangster Saulala, has refuted claims by a rival paper that the kingdom will no longer have independant media because of newspaper licencing.

The government has denied three publications licences under two controversial laws which were introduced late last year.

These include the pro-democracy newsletter the Kele'a and the independent newspaper, Taimi o Tonga.

Publisher of the Taimi, Kalafi Moala, says the government has been biased in its approval of licences by issuing them to church papers and pro-government publications.

But Mr Saulala says the Tonga Star is not scared to write stories that are critical of government.

"That's the motto of our newspaper...The News You Can Trust...and I always emphasise it to my staff, to report the truth and report very honestly, fair and balanced. And we give the people of Tonga the respect and the right to know the truth and I guarantee we are going to continue on, report everything in government and also in the private sector, so the whole people of Tonga knows the truth."

Sangster Saulala.