2 Aug 2003

Proposal to set up new media council in Tonga

8:07 am on 2 August 2003

There is a proposal to set up a new media council in Tonga, in order to self-regulate the industry.

Tongan media representatives at the Pacific Island News Association or PINA conference, met in the wake of government plans to impose restrictions on the media.

The PINA president, Johnson Honimae, says a media council wouuld go some way to answering government concerns.

"we believe that is the best position to be in - the media regulating itself and not the government. The government can have representatives on the media council but we must ensure we allow the media to regulate itself and not have government try to impose such legislation on the media."

Tonga's legislative assembly is debating new laws which, if passed, will limit the ability of the media to report freely.