THE Speaker of the Legislative Assembly Lord Fakafanua today launched the first ever Parliamentary Reporters’ Handbook for the Tongan media.
In addressing the gathering the Lord Speaker said that Parliament and the Media in Tonga share a mutual symbiotic relationship; one where the Assembly relies on the media to deliver their messages, opinions, and decisions to the public. This is while the media closely follows and scrutinizes the work of MPs.
The freedom of the press is guaranteed under clause 7 of the Tongan Constitution. Lord Fakafanua said in practice this fundamental right is still subject to limitations imposed by the Constitution, statutes, parliamentary privileges, legal precedents, and licensing conditions.
The information contained in this handbook provides invaluable guidance into the legal confines within which the media can safely report. It also provides useful guidance and information into the internal mechanisms and the works of Parliament. It gives practical suggestions as to how the media can deal with challenges they may face on political reporting.
The handbook authored by the Deputy Clerk Dr. Sione Vikilani both in English and Tongan, was prepared for the Pacific Media Assistance Scheme (PACMAS) with the kind sponsorship of the Australian Government through the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) and UNDP.
The handbook will be available on the Fale Alea ‘o Tonga Parliamentary website and links on its social media platforms.