9 Oct 2015

Tonga brings in internet blocking powers

4:12 pm on 9 October 2015

The Tongan Parliament has rushed through two new bills, including one that will establish a new body with powers to block selected internet content.

Matangi Tonga reports the House unanimously passed the bills which were pushed by communications minister, Siaosi Sovaleni.

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Photo: 123RF

Mr Sovaleni says after 15 years legislation needed to be updated to be in line with advances in technology.

The minister says the Communications Amendment aims to protect children from misusing the internet.

It says if a website or internet connection is disseminating information deemed not good for the community, a new commission will have the authority to take down the website.

Mandatory filtering is also mentioned which allow the blocking of certain websites for the sake of protecting children, although people can apply for the mechanism to be disconnected.

The Communications Commission Bill 2015 will create a new independent body to preside over the operations of the industry.

Mr Sovaleni says Tonga has 12 radio stations and four television stations and there is fierce competition.