14 October 2004


PINA hails media ruling declaring two media regulations void

Incident details

legal action
(PINA/IFEX) - The following is a 13 October 2004 PINA statement:

PINA Hails Tonga media ruling

REGION - The Pacific Islands News Association ( PINA) has hailed a ruling by Chief Justice Webster declaring the Media Operators Act 2003 and the Newspapers Act 2003 in the kingdom of Tonga void.

PINA President Faumuina Lance Polu said the ruling is a victory for press freedom in the kingdom and affirmed that a basic human right such as freedom of expression and freedom itself cannot be legislated against in a free society.

He also said that the historic ruling now clears the way for newspapers and periodicals that have been banned under the legislation to be distributed again in the kingdom, thereby giving the public increased access to information and the ability to comment freely.

Faumuina reminded the free press, however, of Justice Webster's caution in his ruling that this decision does not allow newspapers to publish whatever they wish because press freedom under the Constitution is not limitless and responsibility of the press still applies.

Justice Webster said a newspaper must face the consequences if it publishes material that is improper, mischievous or illegal.


Pacific Islands News Association
Level 2, 46 Gordon Street, Damodar Centre
Private Mail Bag, Suva
Fiji Islands
pina (@) connect.com.fj
Fax:+679 3317055
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