4 Sep 2004

Tonga court hears challenge to media curbs - report

8:23 am on 4 September 2004

A report from Tonga says lawyers have exchanged arguments over the whether or not the government was right to ban a newspaper.

The Matangi Tonga newspaper reports a court is hearing a challenge to an amendment, which the government made to the Tongan Constitution.

The changes resulted in the ban of the Auckland-based Taimi 'o Tonga newspaper.

Doctor Rodney Harrison said that after government failed in its bid to ban the importation of the Taimi 'o Tonga newspaper, it could only be conceived, that it proceeded with a punitive intention, when it tried to amend the Constitution.

Meanwhile, the defence lawyer Paul Radich, on behalf of the Kingdom of Tonga, argued that the Tongan parliament had the authority to amend the constitution, because if it hadn't - then it hadn't the sovereignty to make laws.