Status: Partly Free
Legal Environment: 12
Political Influences: 11
Economic Pressures: 9
Total Score: 32

Population: n/a
GNI/capita: n/a
Life Expectancy: 71
Religious Groups: Christian (Free Wesleyan Church claims over 30,000 adherents)
Ethnic Groups: Polynesian
Capital: Nuku'alofa

The independent press carries some scrutiny of government policies, although authorities and private individuals frequently file defamation suits against media outlets for airing critical statements. An editor and a reporter from the Times of Tonga are facing trial on defamation charges stemming from the publication of a letter claiming that the king had a secret bank account containing some $350 million. The independent newspaper's staff have faced a number of court actions over their reports. The print media consist of one government-owned weekly and several privately held publications. The broadcast media are both public and private. In a positive development, two journalists and a pro-democracy activist were awarded monetary damages in December for their wrongful imprisonment in 1996.

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