Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Tonga: silencing criticism

Kele'a is a pro-democracy newspaper in Nuku'alofa. On Sunday evening, while they were preparing to go to print, their offices were raided and forcibly closed by armed soldiers. The purported reason is that it is illegal to work on Sundays; however the practice is widespread among Tongan media organisations, there being little other option if you want to publish on a Monday, and it is striking that the pro-government media have not been subjected to similar sanctions. Instead, it seems that the Tongan military are seizing any excuse they can find to silence criticism of the kleptocracy.

Meanwhile, according to Radio Australia,

The Pacific News Service reports the newspaper's latest edition was going to expose a confidential letter from the New Zealand prime minister, urging Tonga to move towards democracy.

It will be interesting to see what Clark has been saying behind the scenes.