3 Jul 2017

Tonga's TBC dispute personal - publisher

6:52 am on 3 July 2017

A prominent publisher in Tonga says the government's decision to part-privatise the public broadcaster is the result of a personal vendetta.

The public enterprise minister, Poasi Tei, told parliament last week the Tonga Broadcasting Commission had not been able to pay its dividend and 49 percent of it would be sold.

Publisher, Kalafi Moala

Publisher, Kalafi Moala Photo: RNZ Pacific/Koro Vaka'uta

The broadcaster and the prime minister, 'Akilisi Pohiva, had been squabbling for months after Mr Pohiva fired the broadcaster's chair and labelled the TBC an "enemy of the government."

The publisher Kalafi Moala said there was no justification for the commission's sale, apart from petty politics.

"It's political. It's the fact that they cannot really control what's going on and it is a personal vendetta and it's really a quarrel between the prime minister himself and what he thinks a government-owned media group should do. It's very unfortunate, it's very sad, and it's going to affect the overall services for Tonga."

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