Broadcaster restructured to avoid closing down due to financial crisis, says TBC chair

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Dr. Tu'i Uata blamed the situation on the way the TBC news was being created and broadcast.

The Tonga Broadcasting Commission was restructured to save it from being closed down, the Commission’s chair, Dr. Tu’i Uata said today.

Dr. Uata told Kaniva News the TBC faced being shut down in two months because it was running at a loss despite having a strong “technical” management to make sure it is functioned financially.

Dr. Uata blamed the situation on the way the TBC news was being created and broadcast.

In Tongan he said: “Ko e palopalema  ko e content oku ‘ikai manakoa aia makatuunga ai a e mole.”

This can be translated into English as: “The problem is that the content is not popular, that’s why it ran at a loss.”

He said he had launched a reform at TBC which based on the idea that everything in the organisation has to be “people centred” and focus on customers.

As Kaniva News reported earlier, two senior and long serving journalists at TBC were moved out of the newsroom and moved into the sales and marketing department.

Laumanu Petelō, the editor and Viola Ulakai, the news manager, were moved to a new department within the sales section known as NGO.

Chief engineer Solomone Fīnau has since been appointed acting general manager and Vilisoni Tu’iniua was taking care of the newsroom.

Dr. Uata said he wanted to put a stop to the “loss” so that the organisation could be profitable.

“According to the public enterprise law which we are under, if the organisation is not financially viable or it cannot be able to perform like you (Kaniva News), there is a ground for dismissal,” Dr Uata said.

“TBC cash flow will shut down in two months, and all will go home.”

“That’s the reality,” he said.

Dr. Uata said this was his priority at this stage.

He said he was concerned at TBC being operating at loss.

Dr. Uata was asked about Petelō and Ulakai’s expertise in marketing as they had been in the newsroom for most of their services.

In his response he said: “Koe expertise ke mau ha silini ikai koe mole he tukuhau kakai oku uesia.”

This can be translated into English as: “The expertise should bring in revenues and not to cause loss to the people’s tax money.”

The reform comes after Prime Minister ‘Akilisi Pōhiva told Kaniva News in an interview that the TBC had run at a loss for many years because the majority of sponsors and listeners moved and used other private broadcasters.

In February the government, which is TBC’s main sponsor, injected TP$200,000 to the broadcaster to support its operations.

The main points

  • The Tonga Broadcasting Commission was restructured to save it from being closed down, the Commission’s chair, Dr. Tu’i Uata said today.
  • Dr Uata said the TBC faced being shut down in two months because it was running at a loss.
  • He blamed the situation on the way the TBC news was being created and broadcast.
  • Prime Minister ‘Akilisi Pohiva said in an earlier interview that most of the TBC’s sponsors and listeners moved to other private broadcasters.

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  1. Na’e toe fokotu’utu’u fo’ou ‘a e Komisoni Fakamafolalea ‘a Tonga (KFT) ke haofaki’i ia mei hano tāpuni, ko e lau ia ‘a e sea ‘o e Komisoni he ‘aho ni, Dr Tu’i Uata.

    Na’e fakahā ‘e Dr. Uata ki he Ongoongo ‘a e Kaniva na’e fehangahangai ‘a e KFT mo hano tāpuni ‘i ha māhina ‘e ua mei heni ko’euhī ko ‘ene lele mole pe neongo e mālohi ‘a hono va’a fakatekinikale ke fakapapau’i ‘oku lava pe ‘o fakalele fakapa’anga.

    Na’e tukuaki’i ‘e Dr. Uata e founga hono fa’u mo fakamafola ‘o e ongoongo ‘a e KFT ki he tu’unga ko ‘eni kuo hoko.

    Na’a ne pehē ai: “Ko e palopalema ko e content oku ‘ikai manakoa aia makatuunga ai a e mole.”

    Na’a ne pehē kuo ne fakahoko ha fakafo’ou he KFT ‘o makatu’unga ‘i he fakakaukau kuopau ke tu’u loto e kakai ‘i he me’akotoa pe mo fakapatonu ki he kasitomaa.

    Hangē ko ia ne lipooti ‘e he Kaniva ki mu’a ange, kuo fakahiki ha ongo faiongoongo fuoloa mā’olunga ‘e toko ua mei he loki faiongoongo ‘a e KLT ‘o ‘ave ki he va’a fakamāketi mo fakatau.

    Na’e fakahiki ‘a Laumanu Petelō ko e ‘ētita mo Viola Ulakai ko e pule faiongoongo, ki ha tipaatimeni fo’ou ‘i he va’a fakatau kuo ui ko e NGO.

    Kuo fokotu’u ai ‘a Solomone Fīnau ko e pule ‘enisinia ke hoko ko e pule lahi le’ole’o ‘o e KFT pea tokanga’i ‘e Vilisoni Tu’iniua ‘a e loki ongoongo.

    Pehē ‘e Dr. Uata na’a ne fiema’u ke ta’ofi leva ‘a e mole ko ‘eni ka e feinga’i ke tupu e kautaha.

    Na’a ne pehē fakatatau ki he lao ‘o e Public Enterprise ‘a ia ‘oku fakamalumalu ai ‘a e KFT kapau ‘e ‘ikai ola hano fakalele fakapa’anga ‘o e kautaha pe ‘ikai malava ke fakahoko fatongia hangē ko koe (Kaniva Tonga), pea ‘oku ‘i ai leva ‘a e makatu’unga fakalao ke fakahoko ha kapusi, ko e lau ia ‘a Uata.

    Na’a ne pehē ko e tu’unga lolotonga ne ‘i ai e kautaha ni ne tonu ke ka’anga pe pa’anga fakakātoa ia ‘a e KFL ha māhina ‘e ua mei heni.

    Pehē ‘e Uata ko e me’a ‘eni ‘oku mu’omu’a taha kiate he taimi ni.

    Ko e me’a mo’oni ia ‘oku hoko, ko ‘ene lau ia.

    Na’a ne pehē na’a ne hoha’a ki he lele mole pe ‘a e KFT.

    Na’e ‘eke ange foki kia Dr Uata pe ko hā e taukei ‘a Petelō mo Ulakai ‘i he fakamāketi he ko ‘ena fakahoko fatongia he taimi lahi ne fai pe ‘i he loki ongoongo.

    Pea ‘i he tali ‘a Dr. Uata na’a ne pehē ko e taukei ke ma’u ha silini ikai koe mole he ‘oku uesia ai e tukuhau e kakai.

    Ko e hoko mai ‘eni e fakafo’ou ‘a Dr. Uata ki he KFT hili ia hono fakahā ‘e he Palēmia ‘Akilisi Pōhiva ki mu’a ‘i ha faka’eke’eke ne lele mole ‘a e KFT ‘i he ta’u lahi tupu mei he hiki ‘a e tokolahi ‘o e kau siponisoa ia mo e kau fanongo ‘o ngāue’aki ‘a e ngaahi letiō taautaha.

    ‘I Fēpueli ne huhu’i atu ai ‘e he pule’anga ‘a ia ko ia foki ‘oku ne fakapa’anga tefito ‘a e KFT, ha pa’anga ‘e $200,000 ke fakalele’aki ‘a e Letiō mo e Televīsone Tonga.