Three suspended TBC journalists on their 7th week suspension; case still being investigated, board director says

    The complaints lodged against three journalists suspended by Tonga Broadcasting Commission (TBC) board in January were still being investigated, a TBC board of director has told Kaniva News.

    Sētita Tu’i’onetoa, the TBC Station Manager along with two other television anchors Vilisoni Tu’iniua and Salamo Fulivai were suspended with pay after the national broadcaster board received complaints from former Cabinet Minister and MP ‘Etuate Sungalu Lavulavu.

    As the investigation dragged on for seven weeks now, the TBC Board Director Keith Moala said the trio had been suspended after the board received legal advice from its lawyer.

    A committee outside the board was then set up to probe accusations which included allegations the journalists did not contact Lavulavu for his comment and televising a news piece which was without merit and being falsified.

    Tu’i’onetoa previously told Kaniva News they did not break any laws and she had consulted two lawyers before the news was released.

    Meanwhile, the Pacific Media Forum co-chair Ofani Eremae said the forum was calling for “transparency” over the suspensions, which had added to the ongoing history of “intimidation” at the broadcaster.

    In 2017, the Prime Minister removed TBC news editor Laumanu Petelo and news manager Viola Ulakai from their positions in the newsroom, accusing them of “unfair reporting” of the government.

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