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While Ambassador David Laurence Lyon was in Tonga he swore-in 20 new Peace Corps volunteers to Tonga
1,04/usa.htm, While Ambassador David Laurence Lyon was in Tonga he swore-in 20 new Peace Corps volunteers to Tonga
USA dislikes Tongan media laws, Ambassador tells Acting PM
Nuku'alofa, Tonga. 24 January 2004.
The USA government does not like the move by the Tongan government to regulate Press Freedom, according to the USA Ambassador to Tonga, David Laurence Lyon, who visited Tonga January 14-16.
Commenting to Pesi Fonua, publisher of Matangi Tonga, Ambassador Lyon said that there was a good relationship between the two countries but the decision by the Tongan government to pass legislation to regulate Freedom of Speech "is something that we don't like."
"You can't regulate Freedom of Speech, it is a Human Right, and I have mentioned it to everyone in the [Tonga] government that I met, during my talks with the Chief Secretary to Cabinet, and the Acting Prime Minister. It will feature in our report on Human Rights in Tonga", he said.
Ambassador Lyon said that in a country like Tonga where a minority make the political decisions and it is also a minority who are involved business, the freedom of the press was the only way for the people to contribute to the decision making process.
The Ambassador said that Tonga was a member of the original Coalition that went to war with Iraq, and Tonga has offered to send soldiers to Iraq. With regards to Tongan soldiers who will be going to Iraq, he said that the USA would bear all the expenses, except for the salaries and the insurance of the soldiers, which will have to be borne by the Tongan government.
Ambassador Lyon said that there had been some concern over the Tongan Foreign Ship Registration Scheme, "but we understood that it was a money making project, and when we asked for permission to board the ships, they said go ahead.
While the ambassador was in Tonga he swore-in 20 new Peace Corps volunteers to Tonga, and he went on Television to explain the USA's new immigration policy whereby all Tongan applicants for visas to the USA must apply in person at the USA Embassy, Suva Fiji.
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