20 Jun 2003

Tonga pro-democracy movement says modern Tongans have less respect for royalty

10:53 am on 20 June 2003

Tonga's pro-democracy movement says there is some truth in claims by the Tonga Media Association that the overseas media is culturally insensitive, but says it is a reflection of changing times.

The Association's president Sangster Saulala has complained to the New Zealand Media Council that the New Zealand media has falsely depicted corruption in the kingdom's government and caused dissent among Tongans.

He says the foreign media is recklessly campaigning on behalf of the pro-democracy movement and that it has written disparagingly about the King.

The executive director of the Democracy Movement, Lopeti Senituli, says there is some truth in the claims, but says modern Tongans also have less respect when speaking of royalty.

"For example, the respect we had for Queen Salote - that is, His Majesty's mother - has not totally transferred to him and the respect we have for him does not easily transfer to Princess Pilolevu and the Crown Prince, Tupou' toa for example. So it is a reflection of the changing times."