Pohiva Jnr’s attack on media biased, says Dateline Pacific presenter

    RNZI’s presenter of Dateline Pacific, Don Wiseman, has suggested that Prime Minister ‘Akilisi Pohiva’s son read the New Zealand broadcaster’s website more carefully before accusing it of bias.

    Wiseman was responding to an extraordinary attack on the region’s media by Siosiua Po’oi Pohiva, who acts as his father’s personal assistant.

    In a lengthy press release, the Prime Minister’s PA demanded that journalists critical of his father’s government should apologise to King Tupou VI and the Tongan people.

    Siosiua Po’oi Pohiva singled out Radio New Zealand International, Taimi o Tonga and publisher Kalafi Moala, Pacific Freedom Forum head Monica Miller and the Pacific Island News Association’s Moses Stevens for their coverage and comments on the removal of former Tonga Broadcasting Commission General Manager Nanise Fifita.

    Wiseman, who is also RNZI’s deputy news editor, said he found Siosiua Po’oi Pohiva’s version of events “extraordinarily partial.”

    “There are a number of statements from your father and other people that you have chosen to ignore. I think a more thorough read of our website will help.”

    Fifita’s removal has been widely seen by the Pacific media as being the result of Prime Minister Pohiva’s feud with the TBC over what he perceives as biased reporting against his government.

    The Prime Minister’s personal assistant has painted those who have been critical of the removal of Fifita as being aligned with the government’s enemies.

    He said they should also apologise to his father and the Tongan government “for the damage they had caused on Tonga’s integrity.”

    “Journalists and Media groups in Tonga, New Zealand and the Pacific region began attacking the Prime Minister and his government, accusing them of threatening media freedom in Tonga,” he said.

    “Those who were pro-establishment and who did not support the democratic reforms led by ‘Akilisi Pohiva are now those of who are against the new government and its new administration.”

    He accused the Prime Minister’s critics of using the issue of media freedom to increase their profits and help their friends in the TBC.

    Judicial review

    In his press release the younger Pohiva referred to Lord Chief Justice Paulsen’s findings on Fifita’s application for a judicial review. The review examined the Minister of Public Enterprise’s declaration that her reappointment was void and the notice of Tonga Broadcasting Commission advising her of that decision.

    Siosiua Po’oi Pohiva quoted Lord Chief Justice Paulsen as saying that her reappointment was void because it required the Minister’s approval, which was never obtained.

    However, as Kaniva News reported at the time, Lord Chief Justice Paulsen also said he said he had considerable sympathy for Mrs Fifita.

    “She has by all accounts been an excellent employee,” he said.

    He described her as “a long term, loyal and able servant of TBC” who had been general manager  since October 2008.

    In his report on the case, the judge said he made no comment as to whether she might still have remedies available to her in respect of any failings of the Board of TBC to obtain the Minister’s approval to her reappointment.

    The main points

    • RNZI’s deputy news editor and presenter of Dateline Pacific, Don Wiseman, has suggested that Prime Minister ‘Akilisi Pohiva’s son read the New Zealand broadcaster’s website more carefully before accusing it of bias.
    • Wiseman was responding to an extraordinary attack on the region’s media by Siosiua Po’oi Pohiva, who acts as his father’s personal assistant.
    • In a lengthy press release the Prime Minister’s PA demanded that journalists critical of his father’s government should apologise to King Tupou VI and the Tongan people.
    • He painted those who have been critical of the removal of Fifita as being aligned with the government’s enemies.

    For more information 

    Former TBC head loses Supreme Court case over dismissal from top job

    Turmoil in media industry as three senior leaders dismissed

    LEAVE A REPLY

    Please enter your comment!
    Please enter your name here