|In the Pacific's last monarchy, King Taufa'ahau Tupou IV holds near-total
power. The king rules with a 12-member cabinet he names and an 18-member
legislature, half of which he also appoints. It is not a system that invites
The views of 'Akilisi Pohiva, a pro-democracy politician and the publisher
of The Kele'a newspaper, have frequently provoked the government.
In March, he was found guilty and fined several hundred dollars on two counts
of defaming the minister of police through comments he made in his newspaper
in 1997. Also in March, Pohiva was acquitted of criminal defamation stemming
from a 1994 Kele'a article in which he called the king "a dictator"
and accused him of "financial legerdemain" over a scheme to sell Tongan passports
In October, Tavake Fusimalohi, the general manager of government-owned Radio
Tonga, was acquitted of charges of defamation brought by two senior government
officials who alleged that an announcement broadcast by Radio Tonga in April
had damaged their reputations. The station had accurately reported that the
two men had been demoted and transferred to new jobs.