12 Oct 2004

Tongan government says court ruling rejecting its media laws does support some regulation

7:38 am on 12 October 2004

The Tongan government has responded to last week's court ruling that declared amendments to its media laws void.

The amendments had been criticised as an attack on the freedom of media and were ruled unconstitutional.

But the government release says despite the ruling against the amendments, the court accepted that laws, under strict conditions, could be made for the regulation of any media.

Koro Vakauta has more:

"The Government says the comments over the acceptability of some regulations are the most important part of decision because they uphold the rights of the public against unprofessional journalism, and at the same time protect the media from over regulation."

The government has highlighted the following Chief Justice's comments in which he said:

It is important that freedom of the Press does not mean that a newspaper has licence to publish what it wants, when it wants about whom it wants, and how it wants in any improper, mischievous or illegal manner: it is not limitless.

The Government says it believes that following the Media Law amendments the standard of journalism in 2004 improved.