Independent media outlets have increasingly assumed a watchdog role since the first democratic elections in 2010, and in 2014 began asserting themselves in their criticism of the government and its policies. However, some political leaders do not hesitate to sue media outlets, exposing them to the risk of heavy damages awards. Journalists are forced to censor themselves under the threat of going bankrupt. In an effort to regulate “harmful” online content, especially on social networks, the government adopted new laws in 2015 including the Communications Amendment Act, which provides for the creation of an Internet regulatory agency with the power to block websites without reference to a judge. In 2016, Prime Minister Samuela 'Akilisi Pōhiva, the leader of the pro-democracy party, repeatedly called on Tonga’s public broadcaster to suspend a journalist for asking him too many tough questions. It was indicative of the increase in tension between the government and media since his election in 2014.
37 in 2016
21.24 in 2016