MNBC journalists beaten, tasered during protest

State television journalist Moosa Naushad was attacked by approximately 15 individuals while filming the opposition-led protest outside Maldives National Broadcasting Corporation (MNBC) last evening.

Naushad was struck down from behind. After showing his media badge the badge was taken from him and he was continuously kicked and beaten while lying on the ground, MNBC Director Adam Shareef said.

MNBC Editor Thoyyib Shaheem intervened by showing his own media badge, but was tasered in the stomach. Naushad was taken to Indira Ghandi Memorial Hospital (IGMH) at 1:00am on January 24 where he was treated for a broken hand. Shareef said the journalist had sustained fractures in his shoulder blades and feet, but had no internal damage. Naushad had not been released from IGMH at time of press.

The protesters, including opposition Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) MPs Ilham Ahmed and Ahmed Mahlouf, allegedly made violent gestures with stones and wooden sticks while advancing on the MNBC building. MNBC have asked why their offices and staff have been targeted, “as if MNBC was ruling this country.”

MDP supporters were also reported protesting near the judiciary, before heading south towards the Haruge and clashing with opposition supporters.

“Over the past several nights our reporters have been verbally abused, threatened and warned they would would be killed by hanging or drowning,” said an MNBC official.

Shareef said he had “no idea” why the media organisation has been targeted, but “we are a government company so perhaps that’s the reason.”

The opposition has claimed that the attackers came from the MDP Haruge and attacked Naushad after reportedly mistaking him for a VTV reporter.

Last night marked the tenth consecutive demonstration since two minority opposition party members were questioned for “hate speech” against the government. The situation developed after military forces took Chief Judge Abdulla Mohamed into custody on January 16, after the government accused him of endemic corruption and political favoritism.

Although journalists have been targeted for the past several nights, Naushad’s beating was the most severe instance, Shareef said.

A photo of the attack on Naushad taken by a bystander

According to Shareef the two sides have not had any direct communication over the situation: “the opposition doesn’t want to talk to us, they are boycotting us as a state broadcaster. But we don’t want to speak with them either,” he said, adding that Maldives Journalist Association (MJA) and the Broadcasting Commission have released statements on the matter.

President of the MJA Ahmed ‘Hiriga’ Zahir on Wednesday said that the MJA had released a statement condemning both the attack on Naushad and damage to the offices of DhiTV as soon as he learned of the attacks.

President Mohamed Nasheed’s Press Secretary, Mohamed Zuhair, meanwhile blamed the attack on opposition parties and condemned them for “lurching towards violence, thuggery and intimidation in order to achieve their political ends.”

In a statement, he called on opposition parties to “respect journalists’ right to report the news free from fear or intimidation.”

While MNBC journalists “are not afraid”, Shareef said the state broadcaster will no longer be covering anti-government protests on-site.

“I don’t want to lose my staff. If possible we will have a live feed, but in any case we will cover the whole story, every point,” he said.

Police estimated that between 300 and 400 protesters turned out last night, and claimed that aside from the attack on Naushad only “a few minor injuries” were sustained. After being dispersed at midnight the crowd spread “throughout the city, between the Maldives Monetary Authority building and the [ruling] Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) Haruge.”

Police understand that another protest is scheduled for 9:00pm on Tuesday evening.

As the protests continue opposition leaders are calling for extreme measures.

Speaking during last night’s protests, firebrand opposition politician Umar Naseer said bloodshed was not beyond the group’s means, according to MNBC reports. The station also reported that the Adhaalath Party’s Sheik Imran Abdulla, another protest leader, had called for jihad. Hours earlier Sheikh Imran had stated that “non-stop protests are maybe not the best way, even if it’s fighting for the citizens’ rights, as their time and businesses are affected” at a press conference.

PPM MPs Mahlouf and Illham were not responding to calls at time of press.


16 thoughts on “MNBC journalists beaten, tasered during protest”

  1. This crazy lady who wrote this news has written all lies. Its the MDP thugs who came from MDP haruge that attacked the journalist mistaking him for an opposition VTV journalist.

  2. minivannews, please do not try to distort the truth... the journalist was beaten by MDP activists - they thought that the journalist was from the opposition TV station VTV

  3. This a very good report about the incident. Opposition thugs are responsible for the attack. And the people who are funding these events must be kept accountable.

  4. Should a journalist be beaten even if he or she works for the ‘opposition TV’!!!
    It’s a shame for Maldives democracy and goodwill.
    The government must detain and punish the attackers

  5. We, journalists from Bangladesh, protest against the attack.

  6. Me ;
    Youre quoting from haveeru live feed u idiot. I was there , why the hell should the oppositon demonstrators come near the mdp haruge and mnbc .
    Dumb maumooniyyath donkey

  7. Yes, I was told by a source from the Maldives Embassy in US that it was in fact MDP supporters who had beaten the journalist thinking that he was from the opposition media. So far opposition supporters has not used any weapons or gone after beating anyone specifically. However the Goverment knows that there are some lose MDP supporters who have turned violent and they are trying their best to stop their supporters from doing this again.

    I do not know why this newspaper has claimed that it was opposition party supporters that did so. It seems that when a pro-government person is attacked, the first thing is blamed on opposition. Both sides are ready to accuse each other of murder if possible. But the Government, being the one in power should be a bit more mature when competing in this game of accusations. So far none of these has gone to the advantage of MDP or Government and many MDP members are not happy with the actions of a minority within MDP.

  8. This country is becoming more and more unstable and the government has got to take severe action.People are afraid to go out at night and this is affecting our normal day to day lives!!!Arrest these people and send them to protest on a bare island!!!

  9. Umar naseer incited violence about an hour before the journalist being attacked. we could definitely say he is the one responsible for the attack. While he was protesting and then the paid thugs from Backbone umar ordered to attack mdp members at their meeting place-haruge and also ordered violence.

  10. And how would ordinary maldivians get their hands on a taser, I wonder? Definitely haven't seen any on sale.

  11. Maldivians fear island nation may be slipping back into dictatorship

    President Nasheed has got himself in to a corner from which he doesn't have an easy way out. He has made a terrible error of judgement when he ordered MNDF to 'lift the Judge off'.

    What now? And for how long can we keep this unrest going on? The longer this goes on the better for the Opposition!

  12. Exactly, the issue here should be the taser.

    Such weapons are contraband under Maldivian law. How did a member of the public get a hold of it? I heard the police possess such weapons. Did someone at the customs authorities fail to do their duty?

    Also, everyone knows that this act was carried out by the MDPs own thugs. A regrettable incident. My sincere sympathies lie with the cameraman who got injured. See what happens can a young President cannot control his government or his party.

  13. This mahlouf and ilham are like the thugs of PPM. They are there to do whatever the leaders order them to do. Such pathetic creatures, not even realising that they are only being used and the moment PPM comes into power these two cartoons will be discarded like the garbage they are!

  14. I was checking my Face Book and was surprised that people like Abdulla Kamaaldeen is now abandoning Maumoon who fed him since young age. He has suddenly become a Patriotic person. I think soon many Maumoon supporters will leave PPM. For some people the country is more important than loyalty.

  15. President Nasheed did not make a terrible error of judgement when he ordered MNDF to ‘lift the Judge off’. its for the benefit of the nation. 3years has passed without proper justice to the nation..its obvious from people who are behind who are calling for his release..yaamin, gasim, thasmeen, umar naseer, bodibaih jameel, finifenmaa jameel. all of these people has cases pending.


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