12 Feb 2007

Tongan newspaper closed down without notice by military

4:08 pm on 12 February 2007

The office of Tonga's Kele'a Newspaper is open again today after being forced to close for the day by the military yesterday.

Staff at the pro-democracy newspaper say the military stormed in on Sunday evening and told them that it was against the law to work on a Sunday.

Our correspondent Mateni Tapueluelu reports:

"It's the first time that has happened because most of the newspapers in Tonga work on Sunday because their deadline is on Sunday night. All the papers are printed then, and it's brought on media in New Zealand, so they were running towards the deadline. But it's the first time they've been closed down because of that reason and they deem it unfair because TV and Radio Tonga also operate on a Sunday. This is the only paper that is pushing for democracy and obviously they believe that the very cause of the closure last night was because it's the voice of democratic reform."

Mateni Tapueluelu says the management of the Kele'a are considering taking their fight to work on Sunday to court.