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Tonga marks World Press Freedom Day

Radio & TV Tonga, Nuku’alofa, 03/05/2019

Every year, May 3rd is a date which celebrates the fundamental principles of press freedom, to evaluate press freedom around the world, to defend the media from attacks on their independence and to pay tribute to journalists who have lost their lives in the exercise of their profession.

This day serves as an occasion to inform citizens of violations of press freedom – a reminder that in dozens of countries around the world, publications are censored, fined, suspended and closed down, while journalists, editors and publishers are harassed, attacked, detained and even murdered. It is a date to encourage and develop initiatives in favor of press freedom, and to assess the state of press freedom worldwide.

May 3rd acts as a reminder to governments of the need to respect their commitment to press freedom and is also a day of reflection among media professionals about issues of press freedom and professional ethics and this year’s Press Freedom Day is themed – Media for Democracy: Journalism and Elections in Times of Disinformation

On this important day the Prime Minister made a statement in support of press freedom in the country and around the world.

Members of the public also told Radio Tonga News their views of media freedom in the country today with most of them satisfied with the status of press freedom in the country.

One of Tonga Broadcasting Commissions former employees in the early days of its establishment – Penisimani Manoa Ma’u says since he retired from TBC in 1984 he’s seen improvement in the delivery of information to the public.

A former chairlady of the board of directors of TBC – ‘Eseta Fusitu’a said freedom is one of the cornerstones this nation was built upon and press freedom today is crucial to freedom in general in the country. She shared some of her personal experiences during her illustrious career in several ministries and organizations in Tonga saying the medias work is crucial to spreading awareness for the public.

Just as importantly, World Press Freedom Day is a day of support for media which are targets for the restraint, or abolition, of press freedom. It is also a day of remembrance for those journalists who lost their lives in the pursuit of a story.

There are over 100 programs organized worldwide for marking World Press Freedom today with the Tonga Media Council arranging a program to celebrate this special day here in Tonga.

© Radio and Television Tonga News