8 May 2017

Lawyer says Tonga govt intimidating broadcaster

9:01 am on 8 May 2017

The lawyer for the General Manager of the Tonga Broadcasting Commission says the government cannot ignore employment contracts.

'Akilisi Pohiva the Prime Minister of Tonga

'Akilisi Pohiva the Prime Minister of Tonga Photo: Alex Perrottet / RNZ

The government has written to Nanise Fifita to say her contract is null and void.

This came after the TBC chairman was forced to resign amid complaints by prime minister 'Akilisi Pohiva that the company was not supporting government enough.

But Ms Fifita's lawyer, Clive Edwards, said she had a right of renewal clause in her contract.

He said if the board carried out the sacking then legal action could follow.

Last week, another former TBC chair refused a settlement from the government related to her removal from the board in 2015 which was later quashed by the Supreme Court.

Mr Edwards said the government was not handling the affairs of the state broadcaster well.

"The way it has been handled it is intimidation and it's deliberately set out a message that is quite clear. If you don't do what we tell and you publish the news that we don't want you to publish, we are going to sack you."

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