19 Nov 2019

Tonga PM seeks probe over TV report

5:39 am on 19 November 2019
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Photo: 123rf

Tonga's prime minister has told the chair of the state broadcaster to investigate three journalists.

Kaniva reports the advice stems from a complaint from the ousted cabinet minister 'Etuate Lavulavu against TV anchors Vilisoni Tu'iniua, Salamo Fulivai, and studio manager Setita Tu'i'onetoa.

The TBC had broadcast a story alleging Mr Lavulavu had manipulated members of parliament ahead of the vote which saw the People's Party's Pohiva Tu'i'onetoa become prime minister this year.

It also said Mr Lavulavu, who was stripped of his seat in 2016 after being convicted of bribery, wanted to be rewarded for his part in establishing the People's Party, asking that the government approve his application for a land lease.

Mr Lavulavu denied the allegations, saying he was not approached for comment and claiming the TBC had doctored an audio recording to discredit him.

The prime minister, who is also a People's Party member, said he had asked the TBC chair to investigate the journalists after he received complaints from the public.