Maldives media debate unfolds on Twitter: Committee to Protect Journalists

“It started at 6:34pm on Monday. Abdulla Riyaz (@riyazabdulla), whose Twitter bio describes him as commissioner of the Maldives Police Service (MPS), published the following on his personal account: ‘MPS decides NOT to cooperate to Raajje TV [sic]. A statement will be released today’,” writes Madeline Earp, the Committee to Protect Journalists’ (CPJ’s) Senior Asia Research Associate.

“Raajje TV, for those not following CPJ’s Maldives coverage, is aligned with the political opposition.  The station’s journalists cite a pattern of police harassment following what they describe as a military coup in February, which forced Maldivian Democracy Party (MDP) founder Mohamed Nasheed from the presidency.

MDP activists have vowed to hold street protests until Nasheed’s successor, Mohamed Waheed Hassan, calls presidential elections. Hassan’s government says Nasheed resigned, and the MDP’s violent demonstrations make the country too unstable to call a vote this year. They say Raajje TV journalists are on the streets as activists, not as objective observers.

What does it mean for police to deny cooperation to a news outlet?  Police spokesman Hassan Haneef told CPJ by telephone he would respond to emailed questions, and we’ll share his comments as soon as we get them. In the meantime, the debate about possible interpretations is playing out online. ”

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