22 Apr 2016

Tonga TV programme manager upsets government

4:00 pm on 22 April 2016

The manager of the Radio and Television Tonga programmes has been suspended by the Tonga Broadcasting Commission board.

Tonga Prime Minister 'Akilisi Pohiva.

Tonga Prime Minister 'Akilisi Pohiva. Photo: RNZ

Kaniva Pacific reports Viola Ulakai's suspension follows a recommendation to the board by the Minister of Public Enterprises, Poasi Tei.

Ms Ulakai's suspension comes after Prime Minister 'Akilisi Pohiva said he was disappointed to learn she had falsely claimed that a request for a press conference was made on behalf of the Tongan Media Council.

Mr Pohiva said he suspected Viola Ulakai of acting as a mouthpiece for his political opponents.

Local reports say the Prime Minister instructed Mr Tei to suspend Ms Ulakai with pay pending an investigation into her conduct.

It is understood the government believes Ms Ulakai's style of interview and requests for press conferences were aimed at discrediting the government and not producing fair and impartial news.

This week the president of the Tonga Media Council, Lady Luseane Luani denied Ms Ulakai's claim she was endorsed by the national body.