Fairfax Media defends journalists’ behaviour as Tongan MPs complain to Parliament

Fairfax Media has claimed its staff always behave professionally after complaints about the behaviour of Fairfax journalists in Tonga.

The Fairfax journalists appear to be in Tonga to cover the Georgian tourist case.

Several senior Members of Parliament have complained about being harassed by visiting journalists over the past few days.

And now it is alleged that police removed the New Zealand journalists from the lodge where the tourists are staying.

Kaniva News is awaiting comment from Tongan Police on the incident, but it is understood that complaints have been made that the journalists behaved aggressively towards the Georgians.

A Parliamentary security official complained that one journalist had turned up to Parliament wearing shorts.

Following questions from Kaniva News, a spokesperson for Fairfax issued this one sentence response: “All I can say is that our journalists always act professionally and with integrity and I have confidence that they will continue to do so.”

Matangi Tonga reported that Lord Nuku said he felt he had been “molested” and that the journalists were “disrespectful.”

A reader commented in Matangi Tonga, which has been reporting on the issue, said: “A bit precious are we? These MPs should be in overseas so that they know what constitutes harassment. Getting asked questions that they don’t want to hear or answer isn’t harassment. They just don’t want to be accountable for their actions.”

The Georgians arrived in Tonga on forged Greek passports and were arrested on October 7 following information from New Zealand immigration authorities.

They were charged with forgery and have appeared in court for a preliminary hearing.

They have been placed under house arrest until they appear in court on October 24.

Georgian Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili, met the Tongan Foreign Minister last year.

A government statement said Georgia wanted to develop relations with Pacific island states.