Journalist fined for defaming Ghassan

The former editor of weekly magazine Sandhaanu has been ordered to pay Rf5000 (US$389)for defaming Mohamed Ghassan Maumoon, the former president’s son.

Ghassan took Abdulla ‘Fahala’ Saeed to the civil court seeking Rf3.375 million (US$262,600) over an article Fahala had written in the 118th edition of Sandhaanu magazine.

Ghassan claimed he lost support in the parliamentary election because of rumours about him published in an article written by Fahala.

Fahala claimed that the Rf5000 fine was “an injustice” and announced he intended to take the case to high court.

”The judge did not even look at the article I wrote, I was sentenced based on what Ghassan had said,” Fahala claimed.

He insisted that he did not defame Ghassan “but ‘wrote it as it was a rumor spreading.”

”In that article I mentioned that it was a rumour. People were speaking about it everywhere in the Maldives,” he said.

Ghassan is currently in India and did not respond to Minivan News’ request for comment.

However spokesman for the former president, Mohamed Hussain ‘Mundhu’ Shareef, said the judgement was fair and Fahala was free to take the case to the high court.

“[The court] has proved the rumors people spread about former president Maumoon Abdul Gayoom and his family were lies,” Mundhu said.

People who committed “ugly crimes” while working for the government should be “kicked out”, Mundhu said, “if the government does not want to lose respect in front of the people.”

President of the Maldives Journalism Association (MJA) Ahmed ‘Hiriga’ Zahir said the case would not affect journalism in the Maldives.

”Fining for defamation is a punishment practiced everywhere in the world. Journalists should be careful about it,” Hiriga said.

Journalists had a responsibility “to write true information about people”, he said.


6 thoughts on “Journalist fined for defaming Ghassan”

  1. something fahala should learn

    Repeating rumours
    It is inadvisable to repeat a defamatory rumour unless you are in a position to prove it�s true. Even if you are contradicting the rumour you should not repeat it. And adding �allegedly� is not enough to get you out of libel difficulties.

  2. Journalism in Maldives thus far has not been subject to a set of high standards. Repression yes, but not standards. Journalists need better training and to develop a new ethic of how to function in a democracy.

    This rumor mongering needs to stop. People need to do real investigative reporting. These defamation cases are ridiculous. 5,000 MRF!? That would not even be enough to cover the lawyer fees and no matter what (if Ghassan is innocent - which we must assume in the lack of contrary evidence) he is loosing out and irreparably damaged.

  3. It’s a fair price for Fahala, a man I have known since childhood.
    A journalist who has no quality could write any gossips to corner an innocent person for political gains. I wonder why the governing MDP give asylum to such criminals. At the other hand most of those irresponsible journalists who helped in bringing down the former dictator since have joined the state-run Television to engineer planed propaganda to protect MDP government and it’s now visible on TV programmes.
    Fahala case is a clear warning to other irresponsible journalist in the field. They should be more careful for what they write and report.

  4. Why is nobody talking about transitioning Maumoon's Maldives to Democratic Maldives? All these journalists are aligned to one or the other side of political divide from Maumoon's era. These are not independent journalists. We need to talk about how to transition them out of pre-historic times.

  5. No wonder that he Hirigaa (MJA) is satisfied with this verdict. He has the background of promoting Gayyooms government through Haveeru news for his boss, the so called Dr. Zahir Nasreen Hussain??

    For him it would be only fair to criticize this verdict if it was against a person working in Haveeru or teh so called private media (DhiTV or DhiFM).

    Thanks HIRIGAA. U r doing great.
    MH / Addu


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