4 May 2017

Culture of fear exists in Tonga media - publisher

8:45 am on 4 May 2017

Journalists fear doing their jobs after the Prime Minister sacked leaders of the Tonga Broadcasting Commission, according to prominent publisher Kalafi Moala.

'Akilisi Pohiva has forced the state broadcaster's chair Tapu Panuve to resign, is looking to replace the general manager Nanise Fifita and has not ruled out other changes.

Mr Moala said he had a special media panel organised to mark World Press Freedom Day on Wednesday but no one turned up.

"It's affecting press freedom, its bringing a culture of fear upon other journalists and media organisations and it is really bad that here we are commemorating World Press Freedom day and we are having some huge problems here in Tonga."

Mr Moala said it is a very low point for journalists working in Tonga.

Tongan publisher and veteran journalist, Kalafi Moala

Tongan publisher and veteran journalist, Kalafi Moala Photo: AFP

He said he was jailed back in 1996 with 'Akilisi Pohiva for contempt of parliament for publishing something they weren't supposed to.

But Mr Moala said now Mr Pohiva's perception seemed to be that media should always support him and his initiatives, rather than asking too many hard questions of his leadership.

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