5 Feb 2004

Tonga still without newspapers as no publishing licences issued

2:58 pm on 5 February 2004

The publisher of three magazines in Tonga, Pesi Fonua, says the print media in the kingdom is currently non-existent as publications wait to hear whether they will receive licences.

The government has yet to approve applications for licences under new media laws brought in late last year which means Tonga has now been without newspapers or magazines for three weeks.

Last month, police raided shops and confiscated the Taimi o Tonga, saying no paper was allowed to be published without the new licences.

Mr Fonua says the incident has made other print media wary.

"The indication of what they did to the Taimi was what they were going to do to anyone else. So people were sort of sensitive and worried that they may not be given a licence or so close and cease to publish."

Mr Fonua says other publications could follow the Taimi's decision to pull out of Tonga.