Media Council expresses concern with court ordered police investigation of Raajje TV

The Maldives Media Council (MMC) has expressed concern with the Supreme Court asking police to investigate a report aired by opposition-aligned private broadcaster Raajje TV.

The MMC noted in a press release yesterday (October 25) that attending complaints concerning the content of Maldivian media outlets and taking measures was within the legal mandate of the media council and the Maldives Broadcasting Commission (MBC).

“The Maldives Media Council Act states that it is the media council that should investigate issues concerning press freedom and take measures. And a police investigation of such a case would be an obstruction of the press freedom established in the Maldives as well as an act that would instil fear in the hearts of journalists,” the statement read.

The MMC statement concluded by urging all state institutions to submit complaints regarding the media to the council and to “respect the laws and the bounds of the constitution.”

According to local media reports, the Supreme Court asked both the police and the broadcasting commission to investigate the Raajje TV report.

Mohamed Shaheeb from the broadcasting commission told newspaper Haveeru that the Supreme Court ordered the commission to share the findings of its investigation within 10 days.

Shaheeb noted that the law gave the commission 60 days to investigate complaints, adding that it had to provide sufficient time to the accused media outlet to respond to the charges.

The offending programme on Raajje TV reportedly compared the state of the Maldivian judiciary to the injustice of ancient Sodom.

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 police protection.

“Contempt of court”

The Supreme Court has previously asked the police to investigate lawyers and MPs for alleged contempt of court for publicly criticising the judiciary.

In February 2013, the Supreme Court suspended lawyer Abdulla Haseen after he criticised the judiciary in an appearance on Raajje TV.

Haseen was barred from advocating in any court in the country while the Supreme Court asked police to investigate him for contempt of court.

The Prosecutor General’s Office however decided not to prosecute Haseen after police concluded its investigation.

However, opposition Maldivian Democratic Party MPs Imthiyaz Fahmy and Alhan Fahmy have been charged with contempt of court after allegedly defaming the Supreme Court.

In a comprehensive report on the Maldivian judiciary released in May, United Nations (UN) Special Rapporteur on the Independence of Lawyers and Judges, Gabriela Knaul, expressed concern over “the case of a lawyer who had been indefinitely suspended by the Supreme Court for allegedly criticizing one of its judgements in public”.

“Such a suspension leaves no avenue for appeal and review and it represents a violation of the rights of the lawyer. The Special Rapporteur is also concerned about reports regarding threats of contempt of court used to muzzle the freedom of expression of lawyers,” the report stated.


6 thoughts on “Media Council expresses concern with court ordered police investigation of Raajje TV”

  1. Why do anything when the Supreme Court does it all? Shame shame and more shame! Still they can control everything but they cannot control the spirit of the people- and there are a lot of them (this country is getting younger by the day and that sadly does not include many of those who are trying to keep control). Wake up and get with the times

  2. And now Ibrahim 'Asward' Waheed has been summoned to the police to answer for a tv program broadcast in a 'free democratic' country.

    Joseph Stalin would be proud of the PPM!

    How long before CNM is fully censored and Minivan News is shutdown?

    The Maldives is now officially in a Dictatorship!

  3. Here in The Civilised World you are only in contempt of court if you defy a specific court order addressed to either an individual or group (such as a reporting restriction due for child protection) usually in connection with another case. I have never heard of anyone being held in contempt for a criticism of a judgement.

    What Law School did these retarded SC judges ever attend?

  4. @Private Tourist on Sat, 26th Oct 2013 11:04 PM

    "What Law School did these retarded SC judges ever attend?"

    (1) Ali Hameed apparently went to Makkah. F*ck knows what he learned there. Clearly, the birth place of Islam didn't leave much of an impression on him. In fact, his mind seems to have wandered off in a complete tangent as we know now. White wine and Russian prostitutes perhaps were all that he remembers from the "curriculum".

    (2) Adam Mohammed won't even pass GCE O'Levels if he sat them today.

    (3) As for the other two in the axis of evil, I doubt their certificates are worth the paper they are written on.

    (4) As you rightly point out, in the civilised world, contempt of court is a very specific term designated for some very specific circumstances of directly going against court rulings etc. I've never ever heard of criticisms, even of the harshest kind being considered as contempt of court.

    (5) What we have here in the Maldives is a hangover of Gay's era. He used to have a catch-all umbrella entry in the penal code designed to catch anyone that defied him. President Nasheed fell into that several times, of course. It was something along the lines of forbidding criticism of our elected leaders lest it would cause discord amongst the general public or some total shit like that.

  5. Media council expressing their deepest concerns...

    News flash! I dont care! Neither does most others.

    We have been robbed of our country. our future.

    You are worried that you would lose your job???

  6. If media council fail to perform their duty, someone else must carry them.

    Rajje TV on 8th Feb. 2012, had telecasted complete false information claiming number is people were killed just to get public to act and calling for violation.

    Media council never raised any voice about those such substandard journalism ?

    Since then Rajje TV is well known for telecasting false information and openly calling for violation which is completely in opposite of what a responsible journalism is ?

    Yet these people had never taken any action ?


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