Broadcasting Commission, Journalist Association condemns MNDF “threats” to private media

The Maldives Broadcasting Commission (MBC) and Maldives Journalist Association (MJA) has condemned the Maldives National Defence Force (MNDF) for asking private television stations not to broadcast any content from Friday’s ‘Defend Islam’ protest that could disrupt national security and “encourage the toppling of the lawfully-formed government.”

Privately-owned media outlets, DhiTV and Villa TV, broadcast live coverage of the eight-hour long protest organised by a coalition of NGOs and seven opposition parties.

In a statement yesterday, MJA contended that the letter sent to the television stations, signed by Chief of Defence Force Major General Moosa Ali Jaleel, amounted to “undue influence” and “threats” to free media, noting that regulating the media was the role of the Media Council and Broadcasting Commission.

MJA claimed that MNDF was politically pressured to send the letters, observing that the directive was sent before the protest had started.

“The announcement was very irresponsible and we call on MNDF to apologise,” MJA said in the statement.

The journalist association also strongly criticised state broadcaster Maldives National Broadcasting Corporation (MNBC) for “biased coverage” of Friday’s opposition and ruling party protests.

In addition to repeated runs of President Mohamed Nasheed’s speech at the ruling Maldivian Democratic Party’s (MDP) rally in support of ‘moderate Islam,’ the state broadcaster also showed live telecast of an impromptu rally held at the MDP Haruge facility on Friday night.

“MNBC is run by state money and transmitting biased video footage and images is something that Maldives Broadcasting Commission should investigate,” the MJA said, reiterating its call for the government to transfer assets of MNBC to MBC, which was formed by an Act of parliament.

Broadcasting Commission Chair Badr Naseer meanwhile told local media that threats to the media from the military was “not something that we should see in a society maturing for democracy.”

MNDF Spokesperson Major Abdul Raheem told Minivan News that the army did not wish to comment on the MJA statement.

“That day we issued the statement because we found that it was necessary given the situation at that time,” he said.


9 thoughts on “Broadcasting Commission, Journalist Association condemns MNDF “threats” to private media”

  1. No worries Abdurraheem.

    We all know you merely follow orders whether they are within legal bounds or not.

  2. "The journalist association also strongly criticised state broadcaster Maldives National Broadcasting Corporation (MNBC) for “biased coverage” of Friday’s opposition and ruling party protests."

    This must really be a joke, right?
    What does MJA know about reporting?
    And would they actually know if a news report was biased or otherwise?

    This really shows the sorry state of news reporting in this country.
    MJA call themselves a "journalist's association" but displays an utter lack of credibility by failing to note the heavily politically biased private media channels we have in this country, who were incidentally covering the said event.

    The owner of VTV spoke at the rally, on the side of those opposing the government.
    Might this channel's capacity to give "balanced" coverage be somewhat compromised?

    DhiTV is the "official" anti-government TV channel, which covered the opposition rally and is very well known for incessantly, constantly and consistently discharging anti-government, supremely biased coverage on any issue. One could go so far as to say that DhiTV would create fiction, in order to attack the government, because in DhiTV "journalism", one can observe that facts are not especially relevant. Few channels in this country use the "media freedom" we have today, as DhiTV does! It's free to the point of free-fall.

    So what is MJA talking about?
    These people really need to go to school first and learn such words as "objective", "responsible", "unbiased" and "ethical". After that, they should study journalism !!

    The longer this country's media outlets continue to have no credibility - the longer they will lounge in the gutter.

    Some people in this country have no confidence in the objectivity of the large majority of our media outlets, including state media.

    So MJA ought to show a little respect for citizens who are the intended audience of their "journalism" and also have a little self-respect by watching what they say.

  3. This is like saying the sky is blue. I mean, journalists were reminded of their own ethics.. Incitement is a crime...which they freely practiced the last time Umar Naseer climbed the Muleeaage gate. I salute General Jaleel, coz these people left to their own devices would hv repeated the crime and courted legal action. Journalists should thank General Jaleel.

  4. Just condemn and sit on ur fat ass.. Nothings gonna happen..who are u guys anyway?

  5. there is nothing illegal about the humble request from Defense Force and Broadcasting Commission is not the only money sucking parasite which should uphold national peace and unity. Defense Force has more broader mandates. Dont confuse this by politicizing things. Media Council also was quick to take actions against the MNBC, while I heard DhiTV broad cast where Defenders Of Islam shouting hatred and violent chants regarding police, saying police are preventing people coming to their rally. This kind of false lies will make people hate police. I urge Police Commissioner to take them to court for disrespecting police and saying such things in front of a public mass

  6. Facts of the December 23rd protests:

    1. MDP supporters were outnumbered by the supporters of the opposition parties.

    2. MDP managed to gather about 800 people.

    3. Opposition supporters were about 10,000 or more in Male' and there were many more in the islands.

    4. President Nasheed addressed the small bunch of his followers while the vast majority of the people were protesting elsewhere against him and his policies.

    5. MDP tried to stop the protests by using all their tactics. They tried to convince the public not to join Adhaalath et al, they even threatened the protest organisers.

    6. When the protest could not be stopped, they threatened the media that covered these protests via a letter by MNDF.

    Despite all the fact changing, convincing and threatening that went on, the protests took place as planned on the 23rd of December. The sheer size of the crowd that gathered to voice their concerns against this government sent a strong message to the government: That the government has failed to deliver and the people can no longer be kept in the dark.

    MDP should start packing!

  7. All media outlets of Maldives are biased. MJA and Broadcast Commission are politicized and command no respect from the public. Under the circumstances, MNDF has every right to warn those media who time and again broadcast material to incite violence. MNDF has much broader interest when it comes protecting, defending,keeping order of the country. Because the consequences could be grave if the protest leaders called for an outright rebellion to topple the legitimate government.

  8. Kudadhonbe,

    Be careful what you wish for, you just might get it.

    The most ridiculous, benighted fools who are fodder for politicians' are the ones who stand to lose most from the policies advocated at these "defend protests"


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