Tonga Reinforces Ban On Michael Field
AUCKLAND (Pacific Media Watch): Tonga's royal government has reinforced an immigration ban on Pacific journalist Michael Field.
First banned from the kingdom in 1996, New Zealand-based Field was advised today by a government official that his application for a visa to cover this week's general election had been declined.
No reason was given.
Field's preview coverage of the election appeared in the Suva-based Islands Business and the New Zealand Listener magazine and was discussed on Radio New Zealand's top rating Nine-to-Nine Show.
Describing the election campaign as "bruising" in the Listener article entitled "The Not-so-Friendly Isles", Field backgrounds the business interests of the royal family.
Ironically one of the major quoted sources in Field's stories was sacked Tongan Police Minister Clive Edwards who is now running as a candidate on the commoner roll.
Edwards was the second Tongan police minister to initially ban Field from entering the country.
Field writes: "Tongan people have recently been treated to the unique sight of royal enforcer Clive Edwards getting sacked from cabinet in mysterious circumstances and then seeing him become an ardent democract and election candidate.
"He now wants to rein in 56-year-old Crown Prince Tupouto'a and 'his Indians' who have turned Tonga into a personal fiefdom."
PACIFIC MEDIA WATCH
PACIFIC MEDIA WATCH is an independent, non-profit, non-government organisation comprising journalists, lawyers, editors and other media workers, dedicated to examining issues of ethics, accountability, censorship, media freedom and media ownership in the Pacific region. Launched in October 1996, it has links with the Journalism Program at the University of the South Pacific, Bushfire Media based in Sydney, Journalism Studies at the University of PNG (UPNG), the Australian Centre for Independent Journalism (ACIJ), Auckland University of Technology in New Zealand, and Community Communications Online (c2o).
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