24 Jul 2003

Radio Tonga disputes censorship allegations

4:59 pm on 24 July 2003

The manager of Radio Tonga has rejected suggestions by the Human Rights and Democracy Movement that the station is censoring international news broadcasts.

The Movement's director, Lopeti Senituli, has said that on occasions the station has switched foreign relayed services in the middle of news when some news about Tonga was to be broadcast.

However Radio Tonga's Eleanor Amanaki says it is not company policy to censor items.

Ms Amanaki says while she believes Radio Tonga provides a balanced news service, there are instructions from the board to be careful what is broadcast.

"When the issues, mainly political issues that have not been sorted out locally, then there are directions, working directions that it might be better not to broadcast such a thing."

Eleanor Amanaki says the station needs to safeguard itself from any legal proceedings that could follow as a result of broadcasting such material.

Ms Amanaki also says sometimes the relayed news bulletins are affected by technical difficulties.