8 Mar 2004

Tonga publisher seeks more time for restructure

2:34 pm on 8 March 2004

The publisher of Tonga's national news magazine, "Matangi Tonga", says he's asked the authorities for time to restructure his company.

Pesi Fonua says he hasn't been able to publish his three magazines since the Media Operator's law was introduced, restricting foreign shareholding to no more than 20 percent.

His company, Vava'u Press, which runs the magazines, the book publishing, music and video businesses, is 49 percent owned by his British-born wife.

Mr Fonua says it doesn't appear possible to obtain a provisional license under the law.

"There's no way around it unless if you amend the law which you can only do through parliament so what we actually asked for at the beginning was for time. We asked them for a year actually - give us the time to enable us to look at the company and restructure the company."

Mr Fonua says he's still waiting for a response from authorities to his request.

He says in the meantime, the company still has a trading license so is continuing to buy and sell and he's looking at other options to obtain a publishing license.