TBC shake-up forces senior journalists out of newsroom to take on new roles

The restructuring of Tonga Broadcasting Commission (TBC) saw two top senior journalists leaving the newsroom and taking on new roles at the broadcaster.

Laumanu Petelō, the editor of TBC’s Television and Radio and Viola Ulakai, the news manager have  moved into a new department under the Commission’s marketing and sales management last week.

The shake-up had been made under the direction of TBC new board chairman Dr. Tu’i Uata who replaced ‘Ahongalu Fusimālohi last month.

Petelō, Ulakai and Uata did not immediately respond to requests for comments.

However, Kakalu ‘o Tonga editor ‘Ulu’alo Po’uhila told Kaniva News they interviewed Petelō regarding the reshuffle.

He alleged Petelō and Ulakai were not happy with the shake-up and were seeking help from ombudsman office and legal advisors.

The restructure came after Ulakai was advised to be suspended in April 2016 after Prime Minister ‘Akilisi Pōhiva was disappointed to learn that she had falsely claimed that a request for a press conference to answer questions regarding his son were made on behalf of the Tonga Media Council.

In March Petelō repeatedly clashed with Hon. Pōhiva during a press conference in Nuku’alofa after the Prime Minister accused TBC for reporting negatively against his government.

The rows between the government and TBC staffers had reached boiling point after the Minister of Public Enterprises warned that the automatic renewal of its former general manager Nanisē Fifita’s contract with TBC in May was void.

The minister wanted the post to be advertised. Fifita took the minster to court but the judge ruled in favour of the government.

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