President’s Office Media Secretary Masood Imad on Wednesday (April 10) defended the exclusion of private broadcaster Raajje TV from President Dr Mohamed Waheed Hassan Manik’s press conferences and events.
Masood was summoned to parliament’s Government Oversight Committee after Raajje TV filed a complaint alleging discriminatory treatment by the President’s Office.
Responding to questions from MPs, Masood said Raajje TV was not invited to press conferences and functions because the opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP)-leaning TV station did not fit criteria or standards for reporting set by the President’s Office.
The policy of the President’s Office was to invite “responsible and experienced” media outlets, he said. Asked for a copy of the criteria by MDP MP Mohamed Shifaz, Masood offered to send it to the committee on Thursday (March 11).
According to Masood Imad, the news outlets that meets the President’s Office standards are newspapers Haveeru, Miadhu, Sun Online, state broadcaster TVM, private broadcasters DhiTV and VTV, and Minivan News.
“DhiTV is somewhat better than VTV,” he added.
Imad also said that private media were not invited on official trips by the President to minimise costs.
The Maldives Media Council (MMC) has meanwhile asked the Prosecutor General’s Office (PGO) to press charges against the President’s Office over the alleged discriminatory treatment of Raajje TV. In November 2012, the Maldives Broadcasting Commission (MBC) condemned the eviction of a Raajje TV crew from a press conference on orders from the President’s Office.