10 Mar 2014

Legal expert to help with Tonga's Freedom of Information policies

8:22 am on 10 March 2014

A legal expert will be visiting Tonga this month to review the country's Freedom of Information policy before it's drafted into a bill for parliament later this year.

The chief executive of Tonga's information ministry, Paula Ma'u, says the policy has been around for the public service for nearly two years, but he hopes to put it before parliament so it can become a legally-binding act.

Mr Ma'u says this kind of policy is the first of it's kind for Tonga, and comes out of efforts to open up the government following political reforms in 2010.

"Those government ministries and agencies under the policy are supposed to actively disclose the information to the public for public information held by those agencies."

Paula Ma'u says the legal expert, funded by the United Nations Development Programme, will look into the bill before it's put out to public consultation.