Journalists need to act more professionally to prevent further confrontation: MJA, MBC

National media body figureheads have called on journalists to act more professionally to prevent future confrontations between themselves and the public.

Their comments follow a brutal attack on a senior reporter from the Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP)-aligned Raajje TV station, who was left in a critical condition.

The reporter, Ibrahim ‘Aswad’ Waheed, was attacked with an iron bar while riding on a motorcycle near the artificial beach area in the capital Male’.

Two Television Maldives (TVM) journalists were also attacked on the same night with an irritant – reported to be paint thinner in local media – while covering protests on Sosun Magu in Male’.

While no arrests have been reported by police, Maldives Police Service Spokesperson Sub-Inspector Hassan Haneef told Minivan News today that “progress” had been made in regard to the investigation.

Senior figures from both Maldives Journalist Association (MJA) and Maldives Broadcasting Commission (MBC) have since said that journalists need to act in a more professional manner in order to help prevent future confrontations between the public and reporters.

MBC Vice President Mohamed Shahyb told Minivan News that journalists have been targeted because “hatred has been building” towards them over a long period of time.

“Some journalists are not doing their work professionally in the Maldives. The biggest problem is that they do not have much education or training [in journalism] and because of that they write anything.

“If the professional standard can be maintained, similar incidents can be contained and controlled,” Shahyb told Minivan News.

The MBC Vice President claimed that there are “too many opinions” leaking into news reports and that politicians need to start “pointing their fingers” at journalists who are not working in the correct manner.

“Social networking is also a big problem. Even if they work professionally, they then go onto social media sites and start expressing their own personal feelings, this is an issue,” Shahyb said.

MJA President, Ahmed ‘Hiriga’ Zahir, expressed similar concern, adding that journalists need to be more impartial with their reporting.

“We need to encourage media to be more objective. When we listen to the TV or radio we can’t tell the difference between an opinion piece or the actual news itself.”

On Saturday, Zahir requested the media to act more professionally and stop “spreading hatred”, while calling for police to give greater protection to journalists.

Meanwhile, President Mohamed Waheed Hassan Manik called on the media to “encourage stability, unity and harmony” in the country, adding that those responsible for the attacks will be brought to justice.

Police protection kits

Assistant Commissioner of Police Ahmed Saudhee told local media on Saturday that police will now provide safety equipment for journalists when covering protests, and that special efforts will be made to investigate and prosecute the attacks on persons of the media.

“Right now, we can do two things towards extending protection for journalists. As such, we will give special attention to investigate and prosecute the attacks made on the police, and we’ll work hastily to towards this end.

“Next, in order to cover the protests as closely as possible, we will provide the kits used by the police to a selected journalists, for their safety and protection,” Saudhee was quoted as saying in Sun Online.

Police Spokesperson Sub-Inspector Haneef told Minivan News today that the kits will be made available to journalists should they make a request for the equipment.

Violence condemned

Maldivian journalists took to the streets of Male’ yesterday to protests against the recent attacks, joining international organisations who have also condemned the violence.

The United States Embassy in Colombo released a statement on Saturday expressing concern over the attacks on the journalists.

“Freedom of expression is a fundamental democratic right, and we strongly condemn these attacks on Maldives media personnel. We urge all Maldivians to refrain from violence, urge protesters and police to respect the right of all media outlets to cover demonstrations,” the statement read.

Meanwhile, the United Nations in the Maldives said the violence amounted to an attack on freedom of expression and merited “prompt investigations”.


13 thoughts on “Journalists need to act more professionally to prevent further confrontation: MJA, MBC”

  1. "Spokesperson Sub-Inspector Hassan Haneef told Minivan News today that “progress” had been made in regard to the investigation."

    Marvellous. MPS makes leaps of "progress" every day. How luck we are that they are able to "progress" like this. Murderers, thugs, rapists, drug pushers should fear for their lives as this remarkable "progress" marches on.

  2. Journalists do need to be more professional, however, is this the time for Shaheeb to point it out? Tasteless!

  3. Asward (RaajeTV), VTV and Dhitv serves not the people but few elite community! It's obvious! Watch these channels and it's sad that public of both extremes love the rubbish these channels bring! So goes with the written media and Minivannews! Sad indeed!

  4. The undertone of MJA and MBC : journalist, TV, should not report what is really happening, should hide the truth for the public.
    Already TVM (of course,' DhiTV, VTV fall perfectly in line. While 1000s of democrats are out on the roads, no reporting at all. Regarding Indian HC, foreign statements, now UN ... together with hahaveeru and sunsunny side of life, they just make a selection of half sentences which suits the regime.
    The Indian HC released already before a statement complaining about the biased and incorrect reporting on India's stand and actions.
    MJA ? Hahaha

  5. a journalists personal opinion is protected under the constitution in the same manner a journalists reporting is protected.How can Shaheeb decide one is protected and the other is not? The problem is a total failure of MBC and MMC to regulate and monitor basic ethical standards, diligence in reporting and legal protection of the profession.If Shaheeb and Hiriga do not have the intellectual and professional capacity, at least display some wisdom in the selection of your words and actions.Appoint a legal professional who can assist you in your work and do regular consultations with the media (not coffee table meetings!) and bring out periodic reports assessing the situation and making recommendations. For Heaven's sake, lift your bottoms and do something sensible, instead of being paid penpushers!

  6. No human being should be targeted or exposed to this kind if barbaric, cowardliness. No matter who had done this, need to be brought to justice.

    But non of the news media is right and they are biased. Rajje TV is a propaganda machine of Fili Nasheed and they go extra miles in lying to public to about any thing which are not in favor of Fili Nasheed. This is not right.

    VTV is a propaganda machine of Gaasim and is slightly better than Rajje TV.

    DhiTV is against Fili Nasheed but still more tolerance to other political parties and are even giving chance to MDP too.

    TVM is much better than any of these 3 private TV channels.

    Journalist need to learn to practice more of responsible journalism . Stop acting like a propaganda machine of promoting individual politician and rather need to act as a mediator to provide accurate informations to the public

  7. @Kuribee you forgot to mention DhiTV is a propaganda machine for Maumoon, and Champa...IT IS THE WORST out of all the channels !!!

    Can't digest anything that comes on DhiTV... I hate it to the core! But I would never wish anybody, even if he/she is from DhiTV to suffer injuries, or be a victim of such brutality and inhumane acts!!! It's about humanity,...

  8. It is true that there aren't many trained journalists in Maldives right now but the time and way that Shahyb and Hiriga brought it up, it's as though Aswad himself is to blame for the injuries that he's facing, that if he had towed the line and obeyed the 'man', none of this would have happened.

    I have said it in the past; much of the media today isn't about reporting. They are basically televised podiums for the politicians and presidential wannabe's to defame the other person.

    If you support MDP, watch RaajjeTV. If you support PPM or DRP, watch DhiTV and if you support Jumhooree Party, watch VTV, if you support no one and want to learn about things like how paint dries, watch TVM.

    SunTV is a joke.

    I can't stand any of the Madivian channels on television right now.

    We need better and more trained journalists in the country. There is a lot of talk about depoliticizing the judiciary, how about depoliticizing the news media aswell?

  9. What cruel balderdash..As if Asward attack was justified because he was so so "irresponsible"?. Shame on Minivan even to carry these views of people who shed crocodile tears to later turn around and say it was all his fault. Shaheeb, Hirigaa, Khaleel, Imad Latheef, Ameen, Hamdhoon, all these have these features in common: 1. They all blatantly backed candidates who failed in 2008. 2. They all worked at Haveeru, one time or the other. 3. They are all apologists fr Maumoon. 4. They are completely a different species of journalist. Eg: These are all carnivores, when at best Asward is a veggie on the sidelines. And Minivan glorifies this cruel gang, even getting quotes frm Hirigaa (please..) a known sadist abused by his former employer.

  10. This is outrageous! No one deserves to be assaulted for any reason! For the heads of MCB & MJA to insinuate that Asward deserved ... How does that help the situation we r in!? seems like u r part of the problem!

    If journalists havent been doing their job professionally where have MJA & MBCee been all this time!? Did they wait till someone nearly get killed before they could stand up & do their job? Why haven't they been advocating for/facilitating better education, training & regulation?

    And by the way THERE CAN NEVER BE TOO MANY OPINIONS!! You just need a good enough system that is capable of managing these opinions.

    Character assassinations or violence whether by journalists, politicians or the average person should not be tolerated nor perpetuated by irresponsible leaders.

    Shame shame shame!
    A very disappointed Maldivian

  11. Appalling! What Shaheeb is saying is that Asward totally deserves what he got, that had he been more professional he wouldn't have been attacked. Nothing can justify violence! But what do you expect from someone who has no clue as to what broadcast journalism is all about. He is at the commission for glory, for money and to facilitate the spinning of PPM propaganda machine.

  12. I think the word 'professionalism' is misused or its meaning misunderstood. If we take the literal meaning, there is no professionalism in Maldives in any sector, private, public or government today.

    Had we had just a bit of professionals to manage whatever sector, we would be a step a head in developments whether in business, social welfare, religion, etc.

    Look at our appalling politics, medical, tourism, education, media, social and religious affairs status today! That is because we do not have capable professional people to manage them, and if there were, they would be either corrupted, self centered with personal agendas that leave out the common man.

    The effects of denying Maldivians better education during the thirty years of dictatorship is obviously seen in the un-professionalism we encounter today in every aspect of our lives.

    The Bangladeshis we have are quite uneducated, but in real life, we cant deny that they are more 'professional' than their masters.


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