Kalafi Moala

Kalafi Moala

By peh4, 28 April 2014

“If you’re going to influence any society, or any group of people, information is the key. […] The victory for freedom of the press and freedom of expression is a victory for the people.” That is the motto of Kalafi Moala, publisher and managing director of Taimi Media Network based in the archipelago’s capital, Nuku’alofa. In 1989, at a time when all news outlets were in the hands of an authoritarian government or the church. Moala launched Taimi O Tonga, Tonga’s first independent weekly and one of the most controversial newspapers in the whole Pacific region. In 1996, Moala and his colleagues were sentenced to 30 days’ imprisonment each for publishing pro-democracy reports that were judged to be seditious. Using prison visitors, the tenacious journalist managed to smuggle out editorials written on toilet tissue which were published in the course of the following four weeks. Banned from publishing in 2003 and again in 2004, Kalafi hung on and in 2009 he acquired the state-owned Tonga Chronicle, Tonga’s first newspaper. Two years later, he launched a website www.taimionline.com which streams the media group’s radio stations. Through his news outlets and groups such as the Pacific Islands Media Association, Moala continues to fight for press freedom and to inspire young journalists in the region.