26 May 2003

Taimi O Tonga bans lifted...papers due on sale in Tonga on Wednesday

4:17 pm on 26 May 2003

A ban on a New Zealand produced newspaper in Tonga has been ruled unlawful for the second time, and the publisher hopes to have an edition airlifted to the Kingdom as early as tomorrow.

The Taimi O Tonga was originally banned in March with the Government declaring it was campaigning to overthrow it, and that its journalism was shoddy.

Those bans were ruled illegal by the Supreme Court but the Privy Council declared a further ban.

The paper sought a judicial review of this ban and the Supreme Court this morning again ruled it illegal.

The paper's publisher, Kalafi Moala, says while the latest hearing was underway the Privy Council issued yet another order, this time banning foreigners from owning any media trading in Tonga, and also withdrawing the Taimi's trading licence.

But he says the Taimi has succeeded in getting an interim injunction on this order, leaving the way clear to resume normal business.

"if these bans are lifted then we could shift the paper to Tonga as soon as possible if there's a flight tomorrow we will get some papers to Tonga tomorrow"