A camera cable of state broadcaster Maldives National Broadcasting Corporation (MNBC) was cut off during a live telecast this afternoon of parliament’s Independent Institutions Committee’s questioning of members of the Human Rights Commission of Maldives (HRCM).
The severed cable briefly interrupted MNBC’s live coverage and brought the meeting to a halt with vociferous objections from ruling party MPs.
When the meeting resumed, MPs of the ruling Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) alleged that the cable was severed by Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) MP Ilham Ahmed.
The opposition MP for Gemanafushi was not responding at time of press.
MNBC One meanwhile reported that its journalists at parliament witnessed Ilham cut off the cable while other media outlets have reported that the MP was heard asking a DhiTV cameraman to identify the MNBC cables.
Following the incident, Independent MP Mohamed ‘Kutti’ Nasheed, chair of the committee, apologised to HRCM members for the disruption and explained that as Speaker Abdulla Shahid was at a Judicial Service Commission (JSC) meeting at the time, he had asked the military officers in charge of parliament security to “freeze CCTV footage of the whole premise for the past hour.”
Nasheed added that he had “formally lodged a complaint” with the senior administrative staff for an investigation into the incident.
However MDP MP Ali Waheed interjected that according to security personnel “all the cameras at the area where the cable was were not functioning.”
Cameras at the corridor and near the stairs leading up to the committee room were turned off, Waheed claimed.
Waheed alleged that PPM MPs Ilham and Abdul Muhsin Hameed were responsible, noting that the DhiTV reporter confirmed that the opposition MPs inquired after the MNBC cable.
MDP MP Hamid Abdul Gafoor proposed adjourning the committee meeting until the matter could be investigated and “the security situation here can be updated.”
Nasheed concurred that the meeting could not be continued in light of the “seriousness of the problems we faced today” and concluded the session.
The MDP parliamentary group has meanwhile filed the case with police this evening.
In November last year, an MNBC journalist accused PPM MP Ahmed Mahlouf of assault during a live telecast of the National Security Committee.
A number of MNBC reporters were also attacked during nightly opposition protests of the past two weeks.