WE CAN’T CON­TROL THE DEMONS - TONGA MULLS FACE­BOOK BAN AF­TER ROYAL SLAN­DER

Fiji Sun - - Pacific News -

Nuku’alofa: Tonga is mulling a Face­book ban, as the King­dom strug­gles to con­tain a tor­rent of on­line abuse and threats on the plat­form di­rected at the monar­chy by pro-gov­ern­ment forces.

It’s the lat­est fall­out in an escalating dig­i­tal war be­tween the pro-democ­racy camp and those firmly back­ing Tonga’s con­sti­tu­tional monar­chy, which be­stows the King with key po­lit­i­cal as­sets.

A new set of pro­posed laws, which will re­move some of the King’s pow­ers and place them in the gov­ern­ment’s hands, has drawn ire from the roy­als’ camp, spilling onto com­bat­ive Face­book pages. Ob­servers say both sides have mo­bilised thou­sands of mostly anony­mous Face­book ac­counts to launch at­tacks on op­po­nents and push po­lit­i­cal mes­sag­ing. Ten­sions es­ca­lated this month when a num­ber of vi­o­lent threats were made to­ward the King and his daugh­ter, prompt­ing Po­lice Min­is­ter Mateni Ta­pueluelu to tell the state broad­caster he was con­sid­er­ing block­ing Face­book to quell the un­rest.

Prime Min­is­ter ‘Ak­il­isi Po­hiva later con­firmed a work­ing group had been given two weeks to find a so­lu­tion. In Tonga, the Pa­cific’s last rul­ing monar­chy, crit­i­cism of the royal fam­ily is shunned pub­licly, but has long been lobbed be­hind closed doors.

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