3 May 2018

Tongan publisher says media freedom at a low

1:59 pm on 3 May 2018

A prominent publisher in Tonga says media freedom and access to information is the worst that he has seen.

Publisher and commentator, Kalafi Moala

Publisher and commentator, Kalafi Moala Photo: supplied

Kalafi Moala says the media environment in Tonga is at a low.

He said the current government was trying to control channels of public information.

Mr Moala gave the move of senior journalists out of the state broadcaster's newsroom as just one example of this.

He said the government also responded to criticism or probing questions by making statements to ridicule the media.

Last week Tonga dropped two places to 51 in the Reporters without Borders freedom rankings.

Mr Moala said it was not an accurate reflection of the country.

"The drop in the ranking of two is so small compared with what we as journalists on the ground here in Tonga are experiencing. This is the worst in 29 years of working as a journalist and publishing here in Tonga, the last three and a half years has been the worst that I have seen in Tonga."

Kalafi Moala spent time in jail in 1996 for contempt of parliament after reporting on proceedings.