8 Apr 2008

Tongan journalists sidelined in public broadcaster's election coverage

3:21 pm on 8 April 2008

The Tonga Broadcasting Commission has announced new restrictions on political content.

In a statement, it says no staff member will host any programmes focussed on the election which is due in just over two weeks.

Instead it says the TBC board, which is chaired by the Prime Minister, Dr Feleti Sevele, and management intend to process the programmes.

It says any candidates who have already recorded programmes hosted by TBC personalities will not be allowed to show them, but they can re-record them and the board will meet the costs.

The general manager of the TBC, Elenoa Amanaki, says the changes are being made to ensure accuracy, balance and the right of reply are vigilantly complied with.

The move comes after the TBC banned most political content for much of last year.