Times of Tonga

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The Times of Tonga (Taimi o Tonga) was a biweekly newspaper in Tonga. First published in April 1989, it was published for 30 years by editor and publisher Kalafi Moala and was a frequent target of the Tongan government. Moala sold the business in 2019, [1] [2] and it is now an online publication.

The Taimi 'o Tonga was a frequent target of the Tongan government. In 1996 Moala and editor Filokalafi Akau’ola were imprisoned for 30 days for contempt of parliament after reporting on a motion in the Legislative Assembly which criticised a government minister. Their imprisonment was declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court, and they were later awarded US$26,000 in compensation. [3] In 2002 Moala published a history of the newspaper, Island Kingdom strikes Back: The Story of an Independent Island Newspaper. [4] [5]

In 2002 editor Mateni Tapueluelu was charged with sedition and forgery over the publication of a letter claiming king Taufa'ahau Tupou IV had a secret fortune. [6]

In 2003 the newspaper was banned by the Tongan government for campaigning to overthrow the constitution. [7] The ban was declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court, [8] but the government repeatedly ignored the ruling and reinstated the ban. [9] [10] The ban was eventually lifted in June 2003. [11] The failure of the ban caused the government to amend the constitution to limit judicial review of royal decisions. [12]

In 2004, the newspaper was banned under a new Media Operators Act, which prohibited foreign owned publications. [13] [14] The law was later overturned by the Supreme Court, and the Times was issued with a media licence. [15]

In 2005 Tonga's Crown Prince Tupoutoʻa ʻUlukalala claimed that the newspaper's legal problems were due to a personal vendetta by then Police Minister Clive Edwards. [16]

In March 2009 the Times purchased the government-owned Tonga Chronicle . [17] In November 2009 the publication celebrated its 20th birthday. [18]

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  1. Sri Krishnamurthi (25 June 2019). "Iconic Tongan publisher Kalafi Moala eyes new digital media challenge". Asia Pacific Report. Retrieved 23 August 2022.
  2. "Stalwart of Tongan journalism calls it a day". RNZ. 4 June 2019. Retrieved 23 August 2022.
  3. "Tongan journalists confidence will be boosted by successful suit against Government". RNZ. 12 December 2002. Retrieved 23 August 2022.
  4. Moala, Jale (2003). "REVIEW: Courageous media catalyst fuelling change behind kingdom's facade: Review of Island Kingdom strikes Back: The Story of an Independent Island Newspaper- Taimi 'o Tonga, by Kalafi Moala". Pacific Journalism Review. 9 (1): 183–186. doi: 10.24135/pjr.v9i1.768 .
  5. Tapu Misa. "Kalafi Moala: Island Kingdom strikes back". New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 23 August 2022.
  6. "Democracy activists to face trial in Tonga". RNZ. 19 August 2002. Retrieved 23 August 2022.
  7. "Tongan government says banned paper campaigned for overthrow of constitution". RNZ. 27 February 2003. Retrieved 23 August 2022.
  8. "Tonga supreme court declares newspaper ban illegal". RNZ. 4 April 2003. Retrieved 23 August 2022.
  9. "Tonga Privy council issues new ban on Taimi O Tonga newspaper". RNZ. 5 April 2003. Retrieved 23 August 2022.
  10. "Tonga Government refuses to allow distribution of paper despite ban being lifted". Radio New Zealand International. 29 May 2003. Retrieved 23 August 2022.
  11. "Tongan government bows to court order on newspaper ban". RNZ. 12 June 2003. Retrieved 23 August 2022.
  12. "Tongan parliament passes controversial amendment". RNZ. 17 October 2003. Retrieved 23 August 2022.
  13. "Tongan police confiscate newspaper". RNZ. 8 January 2004. Retrieved 23 August 2022.
  14. "Taimi O Tonga newspaper not to be distributed in kingdom any longer". RNZ. 31 January 2004. Retrieved 23 August 2022.
  15. "Tonga gives newspaper licence for distribution". RNZ. 14 October 2004. Retrieved 23 August 2022.
  16. "Tonga's Crown Prince replies to criticism from former minister". RNZ. 26 January 2005. Retrieved 23 August 2022.
  17. "Tonga's Taimi Media Network to take over Tonga Chronicle on Friday". RNZ. 18 March 2009. Retrieved 23 August 2022.
  18. "Taimi 'o Tonga newspaper celebrates 20 years of publishing". Pacific.Scoop. 27 November 2009. Retrieved 23 August 2022.