IFJ Calls for Strong Independent Complaints Process in Tonga

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) joins with

the Pacific Freedom Forum in calling for a self-regulatory system to be

established for media in Tonga,

as defamation proceedings continue in the country this week.


Tonga's Minister of Public

Enterprises and Revenue Clive Edwards filed a defamation case against Kele’a newspaper following a report in

the lead up to the kingdom’s first democratic elections on November 25.


The report, published on the

newspaper’s front page on November 24, a day before the elections, alleged that

a number of candidates had formed a “secret” political party backed by the then

government, Taimi Online reported on

January 27. Edwards, who lost his seat in the poll, alleges the report affected

the outcome of the elections.


“Defamation proceedings too often

become a first step when there is no self-regulatory mechanism available for

complaints to the media to be assessed,” IFJ Asia-Pacific

Director Jacqueline Park said.


“The IFJ encourages the Tonga Media

Council to work with its member organisations, journalists and media workers to

build a robust system that keeps complaints out of the courts while still

allowing all parties to receive a fair hearing.”


The IFJ also notes that

self-regulatory systems operate most effectively when they are kept at arms’

length of government and involve a broad range of industry representatives.



further information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific

on +612 9333 0919



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