INDEPENDENT NEWS

Minister concerned by Tongan media restriction

Published: Fri 17 Oct 2003 08:27 AM
Minister concerned by Tongan media restriction
Acting Foreign Minister Marian Hobbs has expressed concern that Tonga's Legislative Assembly has amended the Tongan Constitution to restrict the freedom of the media.
"As a staunch supporter of media freedom, New Zealand is concerned at media restrictions wherever they might be enacted," Marian Hobbs said. "The amendment to the Tongan Constitution restricts the freedom of the press relating to the rights of others, cultural traditions, public law and order, national security and morality."
Marian Hobbs doubted if this was the end of the matter, however.
"It's likely today's decision will be appealed," Marian Hobbs said, "and some 3000-4000 people marched in Nuku'alofa last week in protest at the proposed bill. Protest marches are not an everyday event in Tonga so there is clearly considerable oposition to the change passed by the Legislative Assembly."

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