World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search


Tongan press crusader Kalafi Moala wins award

Tongan press crusader Kalafi Moala wins media freedom award

* Pacific Media Watch Online - check the website for archive and links:
* Post a comment on PMW's Right of Reply:


AUCKLAND (Pacific Media Watch): A New Zealand-based Tongan newspaper publisher who has crusaded for democracy in his island kingdom and been jailed for contempt of Parliament has been awarded the new Pacific Media Freedom Award.

He was presented with the inaugural award by the Pacific Islands Media Association (PIMA) at an Auckland dinner tonight after being earlier in the day re-elected chairman of the year-old group.

"This is a great honour for me - I have never won a media freedom award before," said Moala, whose recently published book, The Kingdom Strikes Back, exposed the political pressures on him and his biweekly newspaper, Taimi 'o Tonga.

Moala paid tribute to his staff and former deputy editor, now manager, Filokalafi 'Akau'ola, saying: "He could have won this. He has been jailed more often than me."

Associate Professor Barry King, head of Auckland University of Technology's school of communication studies, presented the award at the function ending PIMA's two-day conference.

Media commentators said Moala had deserved to win a media freedom award for several years.

In September 1996, Moala, 'Akau'ola and pro-democracy MP 'Akilisi Pohiva were jailed by Parliament for 30 days over a report about an impending impeachment of a minister.

The three men were set free after serving just 26 days of their sentence when Chief Justice Nigel Hampton ruled that they had been detained illegally in violation of the constitution.

Moala's book cites many incidents of victimisation of independent media and political dissidents, including himself and his staff.

The incidents involved the arrest in February 1996 of journalist 'Akau'ola and two writers of letters to the editor published in the Taimi 'o Tonga and defamation writs designed to gag and ruin the newspaper.

Long-time specialist Pacific affairs reporter Fraser Folster, now a publicist, won a Lifetime Achievement Award while a Special Achievement Award went to Tongan broadcaster Sefita Hao'uli who has played a key role in the establishment of the new national Pacific Islands radio network, Niu FM.

Television New Zealand's Tagata Pasifika chief reporter John Utanga won the TV award, New Zealand Herald columnist Tapu Misa won the print award and Radio New Zealand's Alma Ma'ua won the radio category.



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, the Australian Centre for Independent Journalism, and Pactok Communications, in Sydney and Port Moresby.

(c)1996-2002 Copyright - All rights reserved.

Items are provided solely for review purposes as a non-profit educational service. Copyright remains the property of the original producers as indicated. Recipients should seek permission from the copyright owner for any publishing. Copyright owners not wishing their materials to be posted by PMW please contact us. The views expressed in material listed by PMW are not necessarily the views of PMW or its members.

Recipients should rely on their own inquiries before making decisions based on material listed in PMW. Please copy appeals to PMW and acknowledge source.

For further information, inquiries about joining the Pacific Media Watch

listserve, articles for publication, and giving feedback contact Pacific

Media Watch at: E-mail: Fax: (+679) 30 5779 or (+612) 9660 1804 Mail: PO Box 9, Annandale, NSW 2038, Australia or, PO Box 78028, Auckland 1002, New Zealand. New website:

© Scoop Media

World Headlines


Climate Change: Record Northern Heat, Fuels Concerns Over US Wildfire Destruction

More than 78,000 acres of forest in the Sierra mountains in California has been lost due to wildfires. Photo: San Francisco Fire Department The northern hemisphere experienced its warmest August ever, the World Meteorological Organization ( WMO ... More>>

UN: Guterres Condemns Killing Of Journalists, Following Beheading Of Mexican Crime Reporter

© UNESCO | International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists. Following the gruesome death of a Mexican journalist specializing in crime reporting, who was found beheaded on Wednesday, UN chief António Guterres has issued a statement condemning ... More>>

UN: WHO Warns Against Potential Ebola Spread In DR Congo And Beyond

Ebola is spreading in a western province in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), raising fears that the disease could reach neighbouring Republic of Congo and even the capital, Kinshasa, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Friday. ... More>>

WWF: Living Planet Report Reveals Average Two-Thirds Decline In Wildlife Populations Since 1970

According to WWF’s Living Planet Report 2020 released today, global populations* of mammals, birds, amphibians, reptiles and fish have suffered an average two-thirds decline in less than half a century. The decline is due in large part to the very ... More>>