Tonga PM seeks probe over TV report

Kaniva reports the advice stems from a complaint from the ousted cabinet minister 'Etuate Lavulavu against TV anchors Vilisoni Tu'iniua, Salamo Fulivai, and studio manager Setita Tu'i'onetoa.

The TBC had broadcast a story alleging Mr Lavulavu had manipulated members of parliament ahead of the vote which saw the People's Party's Pohiva Tu'i'onetoa become prime minister this year.

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

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.


TBC case not about media freedom - chairman

'Ahongalu Fushimalohi was appointed chair of the Tonga Broadcasting Commission last month after the former chair, Tapu Panuve was forced to resign, and shortly afterwards Ms Fifita was sacked.

RNZI reports the moves came after the prime minister 'Akilsi Pohiva had expressed concern at what he saw as a lack of support from the TBC, calling them an 'enemy of government'.

Regional media groups were outraged believing the Mr Pohiva was infringing on media independence.