Chief Justice threatens action against dissemination of “invalid information”

Legal action will be taken against media organisations or journalists who disseminate false or inauthentic information concerning the judiciary, Chief Justice Ahmed Faiz Hussain has warned.

Speaking at a swearing-in ceremony yesterday (October 27) for seven new judges to the superior courts, the Chief Justice warned of measures against those who report “invalid information, if it relates to courts or judges.”

“Citizens need valid information. Freedom of expression means expressing valid or authentic information. Whether it is information relating to individuals or state institutions, the information conveyed should be valid, there should be no error or deceit in the information,” he said.

“If the court is held in contempt, action will be taken,” he asserted. “I will not allow the court to be [held in] contempt through deception. If the court is [held in] contempt, I will do what I can within the bounds of the law,” Faiz added.

The Chief Justice’s remarks came after the Supreme Court last week ordered police to investigate opposition-aligned private broadcaster Raajje TV for airing a report on October 19 criticising the judiciary.

Raajje TV News Department Head Ibrahim ‘Asward’ Waheed was summoned to the police headquarters last night concerning the investigation of the report, which raised issues surrounding the leaked sex tape of Supreme Court Justice Ali Hameed.

Following the police interrogation, Asward told local media that he was accused of contempt of court over the Raajje TV report criticising the apex court.

Asward said he exercised the right to remain silent in protest of the police taking over the mandate of the Maldives Media Council (MMC) and the Maldives Broadcasting Commission (MBC) – the institutions legally empowered to investigate complaints regarding the content of media outlets.

Both the MCC and MBC have expressed concern with the court ordered investigation of Raajje TV, contending that it threatens press freedom and encroaches on the mandate of the media watchdog bodies.

Appealing to the apex court to withdraw the order to investigate, Mohamed Shaheeb from the MBC told local media yesterday that he was informed by Commissioner of Police Abdulla Riyaz that the police were obliged to obey the Supreme Court’s order.

Following an arson attack that destroyed the headquarters of Raajje TV on October 7, Reporters Without Borders criticised the police’s failure to defend the station despite repeated requests for protection.

Moreover, Asward was attacked with an iron bar in February this year while Raajje TV’s offices were vandalised in 2012, with cables severed in the station’s control room.

Judicial reform

Faiz meanwhile contended that altering the composition of the 10-member Judicial Service Commission (JSC) –  consisting of three representatives each from the executive, legislature and judiciary as well as a lawyer elected by licensed practitioners – was necessary to strengthen the judiciary.

In a comprehensive report on the Maldivian judiciary released in May, the UN Special Rapporteur on the Independence of Lawyers and Judges, Gabriela Knaul, stated that there was near unanimous consensus during her visit that the composition of the JSC was “inadequate and politicised.”

The issue was also highlighted in a report by the International Committee of Jurists (ICJ) in 2010.

“Because of this politicisation, the commission has allegedly been subjected to all sorts of external influence and has consequently been unable to function properly,” said Knaul.

While the composition of the JSC in the Maldivian constitution was based on the South African model, Faiz said in his speech yesterday that he was told by a retired South African judge that the model had “failed” in his country.

“A lot of people believe that every fault of the JSC is reflected in the judiciary,” Faiz said, adding that proper functioning of the oversight body would benefit the judiciary.

The JSC should work together with the courts following extensive consultation to implement changes to strengthen the judiciary, Faiz suggested.

The JSC should also expedite investigations of complaints concerning judges and “free” them from the allegations to ensure public confidence in the “integrity of judges,” he said.

“If not, the issues we are facing now, what is being said [about the judiciary] now will continue in the same vein,” Faiz said.

However, he added, criticism of the judiciary or “a complaint against a judge” does not warrant disregarding court judgments.

“If the decisions of the courthouse are not enforced, rule of law will not be maintained in this country. The courthouse has been entrusted with upholding rule of law. So the decisions of courts should be and will be enforced in this country,” Faiz asserted.

Under no circumstances could the enforcement of a court decision be delayed or ignored, he stressed.

Faiz revealed that he had spoken to the speaker of parliament regarding a recent Supreme Court judgment, referring to the apex court disqualifying two MPs over an alleged decreed debt.

“I told him that the Supreme Court’s decision must be enforced. There is no question about it. Who will determine if the Supreme Court’s decision is legitimate? Who will determine if the Supreme Court decision was made in accordance with the procedures? It will still be determined by the Supreme Court,” Faiz said.


10 thoughts on “Chief Justice threatens action against dissemination of “invalid information””

  1. Cumon Uththama, we are not the ones advertising white pants... be reasonable

  2. (1) What's the "invalid information" that this chap is talking about?

    (2) Does he need a scene by scene description of Ali Hameed's paid for s*x with prostitutes in a Colombo hotel? Does he need receipts from those prostitutes? Does he need an itemised bill including the "large white wine" that Ali Hameed consumed?

    Threats will only increase the resolve of people fighting for justice.

  3. If you are clean and do your job, no one can disseminate wrong information. If there is any information that you don’t like are spreading, it is because SC is not a clean place, if you are clean and do your job professionally no one will say anything about you. People have rights to fuck you if they have doubt about the integrity of your damn institution. Don’t think you have any legal weight with the help of illegal armed group. Just keep your mouth shut till you get legal status by an elected government. If you are lucky you will get the government of your liking, now your institutional is simply part of illegal armed group. When there is no legal authority we can have rule of jungle and everything is legal now, you can threaten with weapons but you can’t change the truth,

  4. I've no doubt the seven new judges will be completely impartial, incorruptible, highly trained and intimately familiar with the Constitution.

    And no rude comments by ill-informed footpads and ruffians about 'Snow White and the seven large pairs of white underpants' will be tolerated by Chief Justice Ahmed Faiz Hussain!


  5. Well, there goes the last nail in the coffin for Maldavian Democracy.

    Freedom of the press is now cancelled. Wow straight out of the chinese 'red book'.

    Anything can deemed 'inaccurate' and therefore illegal.
    I think Mr Robinson and the rest of the staff at Minivan news should be looking for alternative employment.

    Its quite obvious, readers comments on this news site will be considered the responsibility of
    Minivan and will be severely curtailed or even withdrawn. The only public forum where criticism can vented.

    Welcome to the Republic Of China!

  6. Uththama, salaam and best wishes.

    I wonder if one of your very own ran naked round your own building in broad daylight, would you condemn him?

    Or would you rather pass one of your famous midnight judgements against me for asking this question?

  7. The Chief Justice subscribes to the school of "I hear no evil, I see no evil, I speak no evil".

    I wonder what exactly Ali Hameed has told his colleagues regarding his escapades at Colombo hotels.

  8. Ali Hameed is not the one at fault. Some bad Russian call girls hijacked him forced white wine down his throat removed the white underpants by force. Just ask the Chief Justice.The rest is history.

  9. If Chief "Justice" Ahmed Faiz Hussain does not resign without any preconditions, we shall leak his video as well.

  10. Who the F***k is this. this guy's screaming angry at us "rayyithun" ... as if we are the ones flaring the white underwear.


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