20 Oct 2015

Tongan media fear internet crackdown

10:09 am on 20 October 2015

Tonga's Media Council says the government needs to clarify moves to block selected internet content because of fears people's rights may be infringed upon.

The Council's Pesi Fonua says he is meeting with Crown Law officials to get reassurances that press freedom and freedom of expression will not be affected.

This month, legislation was passed giving a new commission powers to take down a site or connection if a website was disseminating information deemed not good for the community.

The government says the move is designed to protect children from pornography.

However Mr Fonua, who runs the news website Matangi Tonga, says there needs to be more defined lines.

"When they talk about blocking things out, you don't know, they can block anything. With the modern day to day news, whatever news comes through or we want to cover it, you google it or you go in to search for information. There's a whole lot of sites you have to access to find information. If they are going to have that privilege of blocking things, you can imagine there is going to be a problem."

Pacific media in action.

Pacific media in action. Photo: RNZ / Johnny Blades