18 Feb 2015

Tonga press freedom celebrated

7:11 am on 18 February 2015

The editor of a news service in Tonga says press freedom has improved in the Kingdom, but greater communication with the government is still needed.

Tonga made the strongest gains of any Pacific nation in the latest World Press Freedom Index, jumping 19 places to 44th out of 180 nations and above the United States.

Matangi Tonga editor Pesi Fonua says the ranking shows the progress that has been made.

But Mr Fonua says the country should not rest on its laurels.

"The standard of reporting still needs improvement and we're still having a bit of a problem of getting information flowing from government and various organisations to come through. It still becomes a struggle to get that information."

Mr Fonua says it is too early to judge the new administration fully.

Fiji also rose up the index 14 places to 93rd. Samoa was the highest small Pacific state on the Reporters Without Borders instrument at 40th.