Tonga | Freedom House

Freedom of the Press



Freedom of the Press 2003

2003 Scores

Press Status

Partly Free

Press Freedom Score
(0 = best, 100 = worst)


Political Environment
(0 = best, 40 = worst)


Economic Environment
(0 = best, 30 = worst)


The independent press carries some scrutiny of government policies, although authorities and private individuals frequently file defamation suits against media outlets for airing critical statements. An editor and a reporter from the Times of Tonga are facing trial on defamation charges stemming from the publication of a letter claiming that the king had a secret bank account containing some $350 million. The independent newspaper's staff have faced a number of court actions over their reports. The print media consist of one government-owned weekly and several privately held publications. The broadcast media are both public and private. In a positive development, two journalists and a pro-democracy activist were awarded monetary damages in December for their wrongful imprisonment in 1996.