7 Sep 2007

Tongan broadcaster blamed for lack of political coverage

12:59 pm on 7 September 2007

The Tonga Government's spokesman blames the absence of political news coverage by public broadcasting in Tonga on the organisation itself.

The Minister of Information, Afu' alo Matoto, says the board of the Tonga Broadcasting Commission, the TBC was not happy with the quality of reporting and imposed the ban, which has now been in place since mid-June.

The general manager of the TBC, Elenoa Amanaki, says she cannot comment because the whole issue is before the courts, while our correspondent says many Tongans believe the organisation was directed to end the coverage by the Prime Minister Dr Feleti Sevele, who is chairman of its board.

Afu'alo Matoto says that is not the case.

And he says the Government is hopeful normal services will be resumed in time for the Forum leader's meeting in a month's time.

"I sincerely hope that it won't take too long before they resume normal coverage of political issues because, certainly by the time of the Forum people would really want to know a lot more about what is going on in terms of the Forum and issues concerning the Forum."

Afu'alo Matoto