Maybe there's something I'm not understanding, but there's nothing in the first snippet that calls the "handle_pjb_cgi" function in the second snippet, and so I have no idea what the "$tx" thing is. Assuming "handle_pjb_cgi" is being passed the sort of object it should be getting, the description in the OP makes it sound like whatever file handle is being used to "print" the the "message" has not been set to use a utf8 layer.
I gather from your other reply below that you've confirmed there is valid utf8 data stored in the database, so the problem would seem to be limited to the output process, and probably involves the discipline setting on the output file handle. But I'm just guessing here.
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