TONGA MEDIA BAN PROTESTOR GOES ON TRIAL

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WELLINGTON, New Zealand (RNZI, Mar. 23) - A Tongan mechanic from Auckland who was arrested in Nukualofa last month for distributing copies of an unauthorized newspaper in the kingdom was to appear in a Tongan court today.

Alan Taione, says he believes that a victory in his trial on charges of distributing a banned publication will overturn the new media laws that make it illegal to publish a newspaper in Tonga without government approval.

Taione was arrested for carrying copies of the biweekly newspaper Taimi O Tonga.

He says he is ready to face a penalty because he cannot accept laws that take away basic human rights.

"If I won this case it’s one for democracy, and it will be a reversal of the constitutional change back to normal."

Alan Taione may face further charges because he arrived in Tonga yesterday carrying several copies of the banned Taimi which were confiscated.

March 24, 2004

Radio New Zealand International: www.rnzi.com

 

 

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