6 Mar 2004

Tonga's only national news magazine may have to sell off shares to comply with new law

6:05 am on 6 March 2004

Tonga's only national news magazine, "Matangi Tonga", may have to undergo ownership restructuring, if it wants to continue publishing.

The magazine is waiting for its licence to be re-issued, and has to abide by the new Media Operator's Act which says no more than 20-percent of a media company can be foreign-owned.

"Matangi Tonga is currently 49-percent owned by the British born wife of publisher/editor Pesi Fonua."

She has lived in Tonga for 20 years, but under the Act, is considered a foreigner.

PacNews quotes Mr Pesi Fonua, as sayng the directive is contrary to the government's desire to increase foreign investment in the country.

He says on one hand, Tonga is looking for foreign investment and to become a member of the World Trade Organisation but at the same, media operators are being told to reduce foreign ownership.