A few decades ago, Tonga was looked up to as the leading nation in the Pacific Islands. Its people had the highest standards of living, income and independence.
This is no longer the case. Elite privilege has become more concentrated and reactionary; the economy and society stagnated as a result.
The most recent step backwards has been the effective strangulation of the media, whereas the King has several times in the past reaffirmed the freedom of the press.
Today’s news of the inability of the magazine Matangi Tonga to continue to publish after 18 years is the latest blow to freedom of thought and information. Matangi Tonga has been the essence of moderation. Pesi and Mary Fonua have done Tonga and the Pacific a wonderful service with Matangi Tonga and their other publications through Vava’u Press.
Leaders of Tonga have shown much wisdom in many situations in the past. Let us hope they see the long-term wisdom of encouraging their people to be as fully informed and thoughtful as possible.
Rarotonga, Cook Islands