MDP condemns DRP accusations that the party backed attacks on the media

The Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) has refuted claims made by the Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party (DRP) last week accusing the ruling party of masterminding recent attacks on the media.

Four gang members stormed the studios of television station DhiTV last week, and hours later an employee of newspaper Haveeru was left in a critical condition after he was stabbed outside the building.

In an interview with DhiTV the following day, DRP vice president and spokesperson Ibrahim Shareef said he believed the MDP was behind the attacks on media, adding that he does “not believe the MDP is trying to bring press freedom to the country,.”

DRP vice president and MP Ahmed Ilham did not say he blamed the MDP for the attacks, but he critcised the government “for trying to kill the media in many [other] ways.”

The government had cut points from the broadcasting license of radio station DhiFM “to try and threaten them,” he said.

Police criticism of DhiFM for its coverage of a protest outside Muleaage in January led to the station having five points deducted. Together with police attempts at the time to stop the broadcast, the incident was treated as attack on press freedom by the station and the Maldives Journalists’ Association (MJA).

Three members of the MJA have meanwhile flown to Colombo with the intention of lobbying diplomats and journalists, “seeking international support for press freedom in the Maldives.”

MJA President Ahmed ‘Hiriga’ Zahir said that “President Nasheed’s words promoting press freedom are not being matched by action. Our goal is to seek international pressure so that the President will act on his promises.”

Under the Maldives’ current broadcasting legislation, points are deducted for any breaches of the broadcasting code of conduct, up to a maximum of 100, as decided by a committee appointed by the Department of Information.

Spokesperson for MDP Ahmed Haleem said the party had “sacrificed much” to bring press freedom to the Maldives and regretted DRP’s accusations that the party was somehow responsible for the attacks on the media.

”They don’t know what to talk about now, so they are spreading these untrue stories,” Haleem said.

Haleem claimed that Ilham was “very new to politics” and ”really does not know the way things go.”


4 thoughts on “MDP condemns DRP accusations that the party backed attacks on the media”

  1. Hiriga is a nut-case. When Reporters Without Boarders released their report on pres freedom and showed that Maldives advanced by some 59 positions or so, he said, Reporters Without Boarders have no clue as to what is going on here in Maldives. This guy sounds more like the Leader of the Oppostion who is ill-conceived by the people and would do anything to garner support. I am afraid, it will not generate any international support as current administration have not kept any journalists in solitary confinement, have not pressed charges against any news media for expressing freely. But as we all know, no country allows any media to incite violence. Inciting violence against a legitimate government is a felony and terrorism charges will be laid against any such persons or institutions under the law of all democratic countries. Some go as far as locking these dangerous people indefinitely, even stripping them of their constitutional rights to be tried in courts of law!! Hiriga must be lucky that he lives in the Maldives, where the president was a victim of torture simply because he was criticizing the government for embezzling in millions of dollars of public money and using nepotism.

  2. I sympathize MJA and Hiriga for being so ignorant about what 'an independent media' and 'freedom of expression' means.

    So far, they have played an excellent role in creating drama and hype in the name of independent media and freedom of expression.

    MJA is an association of nearly 30 people with more than half belonging to the staff at Haveeru.

    Did Hiriga take Hilath along with him to meet the diplomats?

    Afterall, Hilath is commissioned by MJA to write their statements and advise them.

  3. I have to say the government has only themselves to blame on this incident. Why on earth would you transfer a highly dangerous criminal to his home? why? why? why?

    Having said that, most of the criminals ARE actually let lose by the DRP-controlled justice system.

    As far as MJA goes, it is in effect a wing of the wider establishment of old Maumoon. This one managed through the good old friend Zahir Hussein trading as Haveeru.

  4. Does Hiriga Zahir qualify for the post of MJA President? i don't think so since in every forum or an interview he talks he is so biased. I advise the members of MJA get a new one who is a true journalist who can work in the media without taking sides....


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