31 Jan 2004

Taimi O Tonga newspaper not to be distributed in kingdom any longer

9:36 am on 31 January 2004

The publisher of the Taimi o Tonga, Kalafi Moala, says the paper will no longer be distributed in the Kingdom.

Mr Moala says the confiscation of the Taimi earlier this year under recent Media Acts means Tongans living at home will no longer be able to read what he describesas the only independent media in the country.

Mr Moala says the last hope for the Taimi is an upcoming writ signed by 152 people seeking a judicial review of the government's constitutional amendment and changes to media laws.

The plaintiffs say the moves have taken away the freedom of speech and freedom of the press.

Mr Moala says the Taimi will still operate outside Tonga.

"We do have a very strong distribution and strong presence, of course, in the Tongan communities outside of Tonga. And, this year, for example, we're really setting up very strongly in the United States whereby it's been only Hawaii where we've been distributing. But, this year we're moving into San Francisco, Los Angeles and Salt Lake City."

Kalafi Moala.