Police order to cease DhiFM coverage unconstitutional, says Police Integrity Commission

The Police Integrity Commission has ruled that an order by Maldives Police Services for DhiFM to cease coverage of a riot outside the presidential residence on January 28 was unconstitutional and violated the police act, reports Miadhu.

Police claimed that the order was given because the DhiFM coverage was broadcast in such a manner that it was a potential threat to national security, however police failed to convince the commission.

The commission claimed that two police officers went to DhiTV following an order by Superintendent of Police Ahmed Saudhee, with Saudhee taking the orders from Deputy Commissioner of Police Ahmed Muneeru, according to Miadhu.

Following the incident, Department of Information docked five points from DhiFM’s broadcasting license for eight contract violations,

Police had accused DhiFM of airing live interviews with people calling for others to join the protest and overthrow the government through violence. DhiFM claimed plain clothed officers entered the station’s premises and demanded the broadcast be terminated, raising the ire of advocates for media freedom.

The content review committee at the Department of Information found that DhiFM’s coverage breached aspects of the code including failing to distinguish between fact and opinion, produce unbiased and balance coverage of controversial/political events, and promoting criminal activities as “something good or acceptable”.


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