The Maldives Journalists Association (MJA) has expressed concern that protesting outside media organisations ”to threaten interviews” was becoming common and has warned that it might cause the media to back down from coverage.
”Under the constitution, every citizen is guaranteed the two fundamental rights of freedom of expression and freedom of assembly,” the MJA said in a statement. ”MJA calls on people not to misuse these fundamental rights by threatening and intimidating interviewees for a political gain.”
The MJA claimed that every time a person arrived for an interview at a media outlet, “he has to be taken home under police protection.”
Protesters recently gathered near private television station Villa TV (VTV) when Imad Solih of the Dhivehi Qaumee Party (DQP) entered the studio for an interview regarding its successful Civil Court bid to overturn the President’s declaration that Addu was to become a city.
”The tendency of protesting outside media organisations has now gone to an extreme level in which the medias is prevented from performing its responsibility to make the government accountable,” the statement said. ”MJA wants to note that recently such two protests were organised outside VTV station, and earlier protests were also held outside DhiTV station and MNBC One.”
The organisation suggested that expressing opinion in the media and responding to opinions people disagreed with through the media would be “much more fair and diplomatic” than protesting.
”As with freedom of expression, we recognise that freedom of assembly is a fundamental right,” the MJA said. ”But we call for an environment safeguarding both these fundamental rights at the same time.”