TMC denies Ulakai’s claim she requested press conference with PM on behalf of Media Council

TMC President Lady Luseane Vaea Luani said today the name Tonga Media Council could not be used by the individual members for personal agendas and she did not know about a request for a press conference with the Prime Minister on behalf of the national body.

Lady Luani was officially responding after the Prime Minister’s Office accused the Radio Television Tonga’s manager for news programmes Viola Ulakai for misleading the Office in a request she said was from TMC but it turned out it was made at her own request.

On March 2 Mrs Ulakai sent an email addressed to Mr Claude Tupou, the then Acting Chief Executive Officer for Education and Training requesting for a press conference regarding issues related to the Ministry, a portfolio under the control of the Prime Minister.

Prime Minister ‘Akilisi Pohiva’s office declined the request and later said it found out that Ulakai’s request was not endorsed by the TMC.

When Kaniva News contacted Ulakai on Monday for a comment she did not deny what the Office has released against her. She told us  that the TMC would send a press release on the matter shortly.

Lady Luani has released a statement this morning saying she did not know about Ulakai’s request for the press conference on behalf of TMC and reiterated the brand could not be used by the individual without the council’s endorsement.

“I was not aware of Mrs. Viola Ulakai using the Tonga Media Council name for any reason. I was not engaged nor were my employers (FM 87.5) involved in any communication in her request for interviews for media coverage,” Lady Luani said.

The Queen’s young sister said: “The name Tonga Media Council is as it says, implying that the body represents all media practitioners in Tonga,” .

“This does not in any way state that it should be used by individuals”, Lady Luani said.

“There have been many speculations and dialogue on the matter and as the President for the Tonga Media Council, I will take the fall for the Council’s shortcoming and mistake.

“I sincerely apologise to the Honourable Prime Minister of Tonga and anyone else who has been affected by this dire circumstance. We are at fault and let this be a lesson for us to be more diligent in our work in leading the Tonga Media Council forward,” Luani said.


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