Times of Tonga

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The Times of Tonga also known as Taimi o Tonga is published by the Taimi Media Network Ltd from Auckland, New Zealand. It started publication in April 1989. It is published twice a week. The newspaper's owner and publisher is Kalafi Moala, a Tongan-American citizen who in the early 1990s with the help of fellow editor Faka'osi Maama, established one of the most popular and controversial Polynesian media prints in Tonga and New Zealand.

The newspaper has been 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.[1]

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.[2]

In 2003 the newspaper was banned by the Tongan government for campaigning to overthrow the constitution.[3] The ban was declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court,[4] but the government repeatedly ignored the ruling and reinstated the ban.[5][6] The ban was eventually lifted in June 2003.[7] The failure of the ban caused the government to amend the constitution to limit judicial review of royal decisions.[8]

In 2004, the newspaper was banned under a new Media Operators Act, which prohibited foreign owned publications.[9][10] The law was later overturned by the Supreme Court, and the Times was issued with a media licence.[11]

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.[12]


  1. ^ "Tongan pro-democracy politician and journalists win case against government". Radio New Zealand International. 2002-12-08. Retrieved 2010-03-01. 
  2. ^ "Democracy activists to face trial in Tonga". Radio New Zealand International. 2002-08-19. Retrieved 2010-03-01. 
  3. ^ "Tongan government says banned paper campaigned for overthrow of constitution". Radio New Zealand International. 2003-02-27. Retrieved 2010-03-01. 
  4. ^ "Tonga supreme court declares newspaper ban illegal". Radio New Zealand International. 2003-04-04. Retrieved 2010-03-01. 
  5. ^ "Tonga Privy council issues new ban on Taimi O Tonga newspaper". Radio New Zealand International. 2003-04-06. Retrieved 2010-03-01. 
  6. ^ "Tonga Government refuses to allow distribution of paper despite ban being lifted". Radio New Zealand International. 2003-05-28. Retrieved 2010-03-01. 
  7. ^ "Tongan government bows to court order on newspaper ban". Radio New Zealand International. 2003-06-12. Retrieved 2010-03-01. 
  8. ^ "Tongan parliament passes controversial amendment". Radio New Zealand International. 2003-10-17. Retrieved 2010-03-01. 
  9. ^ "Tongan police confiscate newspaper". Radio New Zealand International. 2004-01-08. Retrieved 2010-03-01. 
  10. ^ "Taimi O Tonga newspaper not to be distributed in kingdom any longer". Radio New Zealand International. 2004-02-01. Retrieved 2010-03-01. 
  11. ^ "Tonga gives newspaper licence for distribution". Radio New Zealand International. 2004-10-13. Retrieved 2010-03-01. 
  12. ^ "Tonga's Crown Prince replies to criticism from former minister". Radio New Zealand International. 2005-01-25. Retrieved 2010-03-01. 

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