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Attacks on the Press in 1998 - Tonga

Publisher Committee to Protect Journalists
Publication Date February 1999
Cite as Committee to Protect Journalists, Attacks on the Press in 1998 - Tonga, February 1999, available at: [accessed 24 November 2017]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

As of December 31, 1998

In the Pacific's last monarchy, King Taufa'ahau Tupou IV holds near-total power. The king rules with a 12-member cabinet he names and an 18-member legislature, half of which he also appoints. It is not a system that invites criticism.

The views of 'Akilisi Pohiva, a pro-democracy politician and the publisher of The Kele'a newspaper, have frequently provoked the government. In March, he was found guilty and fined several hundred dollars on two counts of defaming the minister of police through comments he made in his newspaper in 1997. Also in March, Pohiva was acquitted of criminal defamation stemming from a 1994 Kele'a article in which he called the king "a dictator" and accused him of "financial legerdemain" over a scheme to sell Tongan passports to foreigners.

In October, Tavake Fusimalohi, the general manager of government-owned Radio Tonga, was acquitted of charges of defamation brought by two senior government officials who alleged that an announcement broadcast by Radio Tonga in April had damaged their reputations. The station had accurately reported that the two men had been demoted and transferred to new jobs.

Attacks on the Press in Tonga in 1998

06/23/98Michael J. Field, Agence France-PresseCensored
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