Pacific Media Centre Pacific Media Watch Pacific Journalism Review Asia Pacific Report

TONGA: Kele’a newspaper sued by cabinet minister Edwards

Revenue Minister Clive Edwards ... another defamation case against Kele'a. Photo: Taimionline

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Item: 7226

NUKU'ALOFA: Tonga's Minister of Public Enterprises and Revenue Clive Edwards has filed a civil lawsuit against the Kele’a newspaper alleging defamation.

Police prosecutor Mema Latu has confirmed that the case will be heard this week in the Magistrate Court.

According to Kele’a editor Mateni Tapueluelu, Edwards is asking for compensation from Tapueluelu and publisher Laucala Pohiva Tapueluelu over a report published last November.

On the week of elections, the newspaper ran a front page story accusing some candidates of forming a “secret” political party backed by the government of the day.

Individuals named as alleged members of this party included William Clive Edwards, Dr Taniela Palu, Dr Viliami Tangi, ‘Aisake Tu’iono, Pohiva Tu’i’onetoa, Dr Massaso Paunga, Samiu Vaipulu, ‘Etuate Lavulavu and others.

Edwards, who lost his seat as a representative in Parliament to Dr Sitiveni Halapua, alleged the news story affected the outcome of the elections.

Tapueluelu told the Tonga Chronicle he could not comment on further details of the case while it was before the courts.

Edwards is representing himself and the Tapueluelus are represented by Siosifa Tu’utafaiva.

Sevele lawsuit
Meanwhile, the defamation lawsuit filed against the newspaper by former Prime Minister Lord Feleti Sevele has not been resolved.

The case was filed last year in New Zealand courts, where the newspaper is published.

The newspaper recently ran an apology last month (December 29) to Lord Sevele, withdrawing allegations made against him regarding his role in the sinking of the MV Princess Ashika ferry.

“With Dr Sevele’s retirement from office and a new political era beginning, we considered it appropriate to try and turn the page,” said a statement from Tapueluelu.

The Kele’a newspaper was founded as a regular newsletter in 1986 by pro-democracy MP ‘Akilisi Pohiva. It was transformed to a weekly newspaper in 2005 and is now managed by Pohiva’s children. - Taimionline/Pacific Media Watch

About the authors

PMC profile photograph

Josephine Latu

Former PMW contributing editor

Josephine Latu is a media officer in the Ministry of Information and Communication in Tonga.

PMC profile photograph

Pacific Media Watch

PMC's media monitoring service

Pacific Media Watch is compiled for the Pacific Media Centre as a regional media freedom and educational resource by a network of journalists, students, stringers and commentators.
(cc) Creative Commons


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