31 Mar 2005

Tongan PINA conference plans not deterred by a boycott call over the continuing ban on a journalist

8:18 pm on 31 March 2005

The president of the Pacific Islands News Association says its Convention in October will go ahead as planned in Tonga despite this week's calls for a media boycott.

Faumuina Lance Polu says threats of a boycott over a ban on New Zealand journalist Mike Field are premature.

Mr Field was first banned from entering the country in the mid 1990s and he says that ban was re-confirmed by the Tonga Government just prior to this year's general election.

But Mr Polu says the organizers plan to invite all journalists who have reported on Tonga in the past.

He says discussion along the Convention theme "Media Freedom in a Transitional Society" should provide a perfect opportunity for journalists to defend what they had written.

Mr Polu says there is a lot of support for the Tongan Convention from the international community following the historic overturning of the media laws in the Kingdom late last year.

He says if Mike Field wants to be in Tonga for the Convention, he is sure the organizers will see to it that he will be there.