25 Jul 2013

Tonga radio stations warned against school rivalry talkback

1:30 pm on 25 July 2013

The government in Tonga is warning radio stations against using a violent school rivalry as a topic for talk-back shows.

A former Tonga College student, Taniela Halahuni, has a skull fracture and is in a critical condition after last week's attack by 147 students and ex-students from rival school Tupou College.

A teacher from Tupou College, and another man, both in their forties, were arrested on Tuesday and charged with offences related to criminal damage.

The police deputy commissioner of operations, Unga Fa'aoa, says this is more than a law enforcement issue.

He says it is a national crisis and everyone should be responsible and come forward if they have information.

The Chief Executive of the Ministry of Information, Paula Ma'u, says his department has put radio stations on alert.

"To refrain from using the topic for their talk back shows, because the police have indicated where the comments made by the people, it may escalate things to a worse situation and they police told us maybe it's heightening tensions."

Paula Ma'u says things are starting to calm down now, and the government and churches are working with the schools involved.