Posted: 08-Sep-2020 12:21 PM
In the early days of communication it was provided mainly through roads, ports, canals, and bridges. These resources were built, maintained and developed at public expense for the general good of the public.These resources belonged to the tax payers and administered by the government. By 1830 in the United States the inventor Samuel Morse began transmitting electrical signals on laid out wires from one station to another with a sequence of dots each assigned to a letter in the English alphabet. Communication began going through the wire. But the expansion of mass communication as we now call the media began in 1926, when David Sarnoff explored the airwaves and frequencies to be able to transmit information from one station to a million points instantly. So it was the first radio was born and a wide range of art forms was shared over the radio, and an array of intellectuals were available to the public mush easier and faster.
David Sarnoff prior to the establishment of the National Broadcasting Company went to Congress to ask Congress for permission to use the tax payer owned airwaves for radio broadcasting. Congress gave Sarnoff permission to use the public airwaves for radio broadcasting, in return Sarnoff must enable time for informational broadcasting or what we now know as the news. This informational broadcast will inform the public of government issues that is in the interest of the public. Today the internet has added a new layer of communication more complicated to be administered by the government.
Hence, information and communication is public resource that needs to be made free and accessible for the people. It should be administered by government for the interest of the public and not the interest of the few who are in government.
There is an understanding that our Constitution is evidence of our independence and that all Tongans are free. It was set to be our guiding principles and to safeguard our freedoms, a document that will become an insurance policy for the people of Tonga forever.
Fast track to today and the government is increasing its control over the media by imposing new regulations on the media which is a cause for concern. These regulations implies that information could not be published and disseminated if they are sensitive, while the definition of sensitive is unclear and the government can determine sensitive however they want. It also implies that information cannot be published and disseminated without certain authorization. How does it work? No one knows. The media might not be able to publish anything about a Minister being arrested without authorization from the Police or whoever is to authorize such cases. The information that will be available to the public will then decline and certain information will be hidden away from the public as deemed to be sensitive.
The government’s attempt to control information is a very dangerous move and it forces us to revisit our insurance policy and to see whether it still applies or not, especially in clause 7 which guarantees the freedom of the press. Yet, these new regulations induce more and more limits and restrictions on those freedoms and could provide serious inconsistency with the constitution.
The freedom of the press is written in the Constitution’s declaration of rights for a reason, and it is to protect journalists and media publications independence. Journalists must be free and independent to provide an opinion that is different from that of the government. The concept of the fourth estate in every democratic government is to provide a public avenue for people to watch over the government. The media is a crucial and integral part of the government. The institutions of government must be able to safeguard the democratic process, whereby checks and balances exist and are enforced.
Although, many would argue that the hope of a nation lies in its judiciary that it is the balancing force for government and the Legislative, and where justice can be found. The judiciary should be a deterrence factor to prevent any government from tyranny. But where all these institutions fail than the media is the last resort. The media are the ears and eyes of the people to provide checks and balance on the powers of the government. The services rendered by journalists is the most honourable service that exists for any democratic country.
The government is building wall to keep the public out of their way and it seems as though this wall is getting higher and higher. But on that wall between the government and its citizens there are strong men and women who willing puts themselves on that wall. They are journalists and they are there to watch the government and to inform the public. Information and communication is public asset and anything in the government that is vital to the long term welfare of the country is a public interest. Yet, the government may not be willing to give people the right to know any issues concerning the government.
Calling fake news is a cover up mask for the real intentions of the government to limit the freedom of the press.
ONGOONGO LOI PE KOE TAUMU’A LOI?
‘I he fuofua kamata ‘ae fetu’utaki ne fakahoko ia ‘i he ngaahi hala, ngaahi taulanga, hu ‘anga vaka, mo e hala fakakavakava. Ko e ngaahi koloa ia ne ngaohi ki he fetu’utaki pea tauhi mo fakalakalaka ‘aki ‘a e fiema’u ‘a e kakai mo e koloa ‘a e kakai ma’ae lelei fakalukufua ‘a e kakai. Ko e ngaahi koloa ko ‘eni ko e koloa ia ‘a e kakai totongi tukuhau ‘o e fonua pea tokanga’i ‘e he Pule’anga ma’ae kakai. ‘I he ta’u 1830 ‘i ‘Amelika ne fo’u ai ‘e he mataotao ko ia ko Samuel Morse ‘a e makoni ke ne fakahoko ‘a e fetu’utaki mei he feitu’u ki he feitu’u. Ka ko e ta’u 1920 ne ‘ilo ai he tangata ko David Sarnoff ‘a e founga ke lava fetu’utaki ‘a e makoni mei he feitu’u ‘e taha ki ha feitu’u kehekehe ‘e lau miliona he taimi pe ‘e taha. Ko ia na’e fofoa’i ai ‘ae letio ‘o fakafetu’utaki ai ‘a e ngaahi fakamatala kehekehe he founga vave pea faingofua.
Hili hono fokotu’u ‘e Sarnoff ‘ene kautaha National Broadcasting Company na’a ne lava atu ki he Fale Alea ‘o ‘Amelika ‘o kole ke nau faka’ataa ange mu’a ‘a e koloa ‘a e fonua ‘i he laine fetu’utaki (frequency) ke fakalele ai ‘ene letio. Ne foaki ange ‘e he Fale Alea ‘a e ngofua ko ia ka kuo pau ke ne fakafaingamalie mo e letio ke tufaki ai ‘a e ngaahi fakamatala faka-pule’anga ‘oku fekau’aki mo e Pule’anga pea mahu’inga ke ‘ilo ki ai ‘a e kakai ‘o e fonua. Ne ‘iloa leva ‘eni ko e ongoongo pe ko ia ‘oku ‘iloa he lea fakapilitania ko e news. Ko e ‘aho ni kuo tanaki mai pea mo e ‘initaneti ki he ngaahi founga fetu’utaki mo e tufaki ‘o e fakamatala.
Ko e fetu’utaki pea mo e fakamatala ko e koloa fakafonua ia ke ngaue’aki tau’ataina ‘e he kakai ma’ae lelei fakalukufua ‘a e kakai. ‘Oku ‘ikai totonu ke fakangatangata ‘a hono ngaue’aki ‘o fakatatau ki ha fiema’u ha ki’i toko ni’ihi pe ‘i he Pule’anga.
Ke tanaki ki ai, ‘oku ‘i ai foki ‘a e tui ko ‘etau Konisitutone na’e fatu ia ko e fakamo’oni ki he ‘etau tau’ataina pea ki he Tonga kotoa ke tau’ataina. ‘Oku hoko ‘a e Konisitutone ko e tuhulu mo e naunau ke ne malu’i ‘a e tau’ataina ‘a e kakai Tonga ‘o ta’engata.
Kaekehe, ko e ‘aho ni kuo hikihiki to ‘a e ngaue ‘a e pule’anga ke ne fakangatangata ‘a e tau’ataina ko ia ‘aki hono tukuange mai ‘a e ngaahi tu’utu’uni ke pule’i ‘a e mitia. ‘Oku fakaha ‘e he ngaahi tu’utu’uni ko ‘eni ‘e tautea ha taha ‘oku ne tukuange ha fakamatala ‘oku taku ‘e he Pule’anga ‘oku pelepelengesi neongo ‘oku ‘ikai ha mahino mai pe ko fe koaa ‘a e fakamatala ‘oku pelepelengesi mo ia ‘oku ‘ikai ke pelepelengesi. ‘Oku to e fakaha mai pe he ngaahi tu’utu’uni ko ‘eni ‘e ‘ikai lava ha taha ke ne tukuange ha fakamatala kae ‘oua kuo fakamafai ia ke ne tukuange. ‘Oku anga fefe ‘a hono fakahoko ‘eni? ‘Oku ‘ikai ha taha te ne ‘ilo ki ai ko e Pule’anga pe. ‘Oku hange tofu ‘e ‘ikai lava ha ongoongo ‘o fakaha ki he kakai kuo faka’ilo ha Minisita kae ‘oua kuo fakamafai mai ke tala ki he kakai ‘a e ongoongo ko ia. ‘E pule leva ‘a e Pule’anga ia ki he ongoongo pe te nau loto ke fakaha pea fakamafai leva ia. Ko e ma’u’anga fakamatala ko ia ‘a e kakai ‘e holo leva ia si’isi’i pea ‘e ‘i ai leva ha ngaahi fakamatala ia ‘e ‘ikai pe ‘ilo ki ai ‘a e kakai ia ko e tala ‘oku pelepelengesi ia.
Ko e feinga ko ia ‘a e Pule’anga ke ne pule’i ‘a e fakamatala ko e fo’i nga’unu fakatu’utamaki ‘aupito ia pea ‘oku ne teke kitautolu ke tau to e vakai ange ‘etau malu’i na’e tala ‘e he Konisitutone pe ‘oku kei ngaue nai pe ‘ikai. ‘Oku tautau tefito ‘eni kihe kupu 7 ‘o e Konisitutone ‘oku ne foaki ‘a e tau’ataina ki he ongoongo. ‘Oku hu mai ‘a e ngaahi tu’utu’uni ko ‘eni ‘o hange ‘oku fehangahangai ia pea mo e Konisitutone.
Na’e tohi’i mahino ‘i he Konisitutone ko e tau’ataina ‘a e lea mo e tohi mo e ongoongo ‘aki ‘a e ‘uhinga mafatukituki. He ko e taumu’a ‘oku ha ai ‘a e kupu 7 ke ne malu’i ‘a e kau faiongoongo pea mo e ongoongo ke nau tau’ataina. Kuo pau ke tau’ataina ‘a e taha ke ne lea ‘aki ha ‘ane fakakaukau ‘o tatau aipe pe ‘oku kehe ia mei he fakakaukau ‘a e Pule’anga. ‘Oku ‘i ai ‘a e tu’unga ‘o e mitia ‘i he pule’anga pea ko e tu’unga mahu’inga ia pea ‘oku fakafatongia kinautolu ‘aki hono siofi mo muimui’i ‘a e ngaue ‘a e Pule’anga pea fakaha ia ki he kakai. Ko e ngaahi kupu kotoa ‘o ha Pule’anga, Fale Alea, pea mo e Fakamaau’anga ‘i ha fonua Temokalati ke nau lava ma’u ‘a e tau’ataina ke nau fetaliui’aki pea ke malu ai ‘a e fonua.
Neongo ‘oku taku ‘e he tokolahi ko e Fakamaau’anga ko e ‘amanaki’anga ia ha fonua he ko ia ‘oku ne siofi ‘a e ngaue ‘a e Pule’anga mo e Fale Alea ke mahino ‘oku fakalao pea ke ma’u ‘a e fakamaautotonu. ‘Oku lava ‘e he Fakamaau’anga ke vakai’i ‘ena ngaue he taimi kotoa pea si’isi’i ai ha fangamalie ke pule fakaleveleva ha Pule’anga pe Fale Alea. Ka ko e taimi ‘oku ‘ikai lava ai ‘a e ngaahi kupu ko ‘eni ‘o fetaliui’aki pea ‘oku ‘uhinga leva ‘a e kau atu ‘a e mitia. Ke hoko ‘a e mitia ko e mata mo e telinga ia ‘a e kakai ke nau ‘ilo ai ‘a e me’a kotoa ‘oku hoko he loto’i pule’anga. Ko e fatongia faka-faiongoongo ko e fatongia mafatukituki ia mo mahu’inga taha ki ha fonua Temokalati.
‘Oku langa ‘e he Pule’anga ia ha ‘aa vahevahe pea mo e kakai pea ‘oku ‘alu pe ke to e ma’olunga ange fu’u ‘aa ko ‘eni. Ka koe ‘aa ko’eni ‘oku ‘i ai ‘a e kau faiongoongo ai ‘oku nau tu’u vaha’a ‘i he Pule’anga mo e kakai ke nau siofi ‘a e Pule’anga pea fakaha ki he kakai. Ko e fetu’utaki mo e fakamatala ko e koloa ia ‘a e fonua he ko e me’a kotoa ‘oku fai ‘e he Pule’anga ‘oku ‘i ai ‘a e totonu ‘a e kakai ‘o e fonua ke nau ‘ilo ki ai.
Ka ko hono tala ko e ongoongo loi ko e fo’i toho pe ia, ‘oku hange ha puloa ‘oku toitoi mai ai ‘a e taumu’a totonu ia ‘a e Pule’anga ke fakangatangata ‘a e tau’ataina ‘o e ongoongo.
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