The following is an English-language translation of a press release press release issued by the Maldives National Journalists Association (MNJA) on October 28 2010, in response to our coverage of the Vilu Reef ‘wedding’ video.
The verbatim translation of the filthy language used by a ‘celebrant’ in a symbolic wedding ceremony conducted on a Maldivian resort published by Minivan News is not the type of journalism that should be practised by a responsible newspaper. The publication of filthy language by anyone, in whatever language, falls outside the standards of professional journalism.
This organisation condemns the use of unacceptable language of low standards in any newspaper or website that can be read or accessed by children, adults and families. We would also like to take this opportunity to note that the translation published in Minivan News will damage Maldivian tourism and business.
SIM Ibrahim Mohamed
President of the Maldives National Journalist Association
Minivan News responds:
Minivan News heartily agrees that the Maldives National Journalists Association (MNJA) should be concerned about the filthy language used by a Vilu Reef staff member in the leaked video, in which paying tourists seeking to renew their wedding vows are mocked and degraded by up to 15 complicit resort staff.
However Minivan News feels such concern would be better voiced by the Maldives Association of Tourism Industry (MATI), easily done as the two organisations are headed by the same individual, Sim Mohamed Ibrahim.
Minivan News is in fact surprised that MATI has yet to comment on an incident which has sparked worldwide concern about the humiliating and degrading treatment of guests on a resort, and hopes it has not adopted a head-in-the-sand approach to an issue of such national importance.
Furthermore, Minivan News believes that the duty of a ‘responsible’ news publication is to bring such sensitive issues to light, without fear or prejudice, holding big business to account when its behavior damages the Maldives’ cherished reputation for tourism excellence.
We sincerely hope that MNJA/MATI stops ‘shooting the messenger’ and uses its respect and political clout to ensure that such shameful behaviour does not happen again in the future.