14 Feb 2007

Tonga government says Kele'a founder admits Sunday ban breach

8:07 pm on 14 February 2007

Tonga's government says the pro-democracy leader Akilisi Pohiva has admitted that staff at the Kele'a newspaper were violating Sunday law when their office was closed down.

The Tonga Defence Services shut down the Kele'a office because they say the newspaper had been operating without a proper license inside the proclaimed area of Nuku'alofa.

The Kele'a newspaper has been a critic of the government since it was founded by Mr Pohiva, in 1986, and its editor has accused the TDS of targetting it for its criticism.

But the government spokesman, Lopeti Senituli, says the government respects the rule of law and also respects the freedom of the media.

Mr Senituli has also asked the international media to give the government a fair hearing.