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Crusading publication led kingdom toward democracy

MELBOURNE, Australia (Radio Australia, Jan. 17, 2011) – A Tongan media company has officially launched a website which it hopes will bring Tongans at home and overseas together.

The Taimi Media Network's Taimiotonga.com brings together news generated by the company's two newspapers, as well as its radio and television stations.

It will be the second online news site for the Kingdom, joining the already established Matangi Tonga online magazine.

[PIR editor’s note: The Taimi o Tonga, banned from the Kingdom of Tonga in 2002 over critical reporting of the royal family’s business dealings, was instrumental in the country’s current move towards true democracy. Kalafi Moala, the prize-winning publisher of the twice-weekly newspaper, spent time in jail in defense of the crusading news publication before moving the operation to Auckland, where the Taimi o Tonga now sends its newspaper to Tongan readers around the world.]

TMN's CEO, Kalafi Moala, says the site will offer a very local feel to news, but still expects to attract readers from overseas.

"In other words, we're writing news for local consumption," he said. "But then of course we have a lot of readership in New Zealand, Australia and the US. And we knew that it was just a matter of time to get ourselves ready and to serve communities outside of Tonga."

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