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WELLINGTON, New Zealand (RNZI, Aug. 1) - The director of Tonga’s
Human Rights and Democracy Movement, Lopeti Senituli, has condemned a new
measure aimed at controlling the media in Tonga.

He said the Newspaper Bill would go further than the Media
Operator’s Act, passed earlier this week, which restricts foreign media
ownership to twenty percent.

Senituli said the new bill would give the Government the right
to shut down any newspaper regardless of its origin.

He said the Government could make decisions based on content,
the paper’s intepretation of Tongan culture and national identity, and other
matters as determined by the Minister.

It virtually gives the minister and the cabinet a blank check as
to what standards they can impose, and lays down how that can be imposed."

He said the pro-establishment papers could also be threatened by
the measure, as they have also recently questioned the new legislation.

August 1, 2003

Radio New Zealand International: 


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