6 Jun 2017

PM's comments led to change in news approach in Tonga

1:47 pm on 6 June 2017

A consultant for the Tonga Broadcasting Commission says threats by the prime minister against the state broadcaster affected its coverage of events.

The general manager and chair of the TBC were dismissed following comments by the prime minister that the broadcaster was an enemy of government and did not support his work enough.

He also threatened its services would be taken over by another company if the relationship continued on the same route.

The TBC's Laumanu Petelo said the comments initially intimidated staff.

"As to changing our stories to focus more on things that will be positive to government, rather than getting stories that are balanced and unbiased.

"So we felt that we were kind of changing our roles to try to fit in to what the prime minister and government wanted."

However Laumanu Petelo said, with court proceedings and media coverage of the affair, she felt things were starting to improve.

Laumanu Petelo

Laumanu Petelo Photo: RNZI / Koro Vaka'uta

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