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
represents more than 600,000 journalists in 125 countries
IFJ on Twitter: @ifjasiapacific
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