Parliament’s General Committee has condemned the Maldives Journalist Association (MJA) for issuing a statement claiming it had attempted to threaten journalists.
The General Committee of the parliament said that it had summoned journalists from private broadcasting channels VTV and DhiTV recently, but rejected claims it had threatened reporters.
In a statement issued on Monday December 27, the General Committee’s chair, MP Nazim Rashad, said that the journalists in question were summoned regarding a complaint made by an MP over allegations they had edited video footage and broadcast it in a manner that would smear the member in question.
”Obstructing independent media in the country in any way, along with allegations that this committee attempted to make the media back-down is not acceptable by this committee or by the honourable MPs of the parliament,” the statement said. ”But it is the responsibility of the committee members to fulfill their responsibility at their level best under the Parliament rules of regulation.”
The statement added that issuing a claim to obstruct the work of the committee was against the constitution as well as being very irresponsible.
”We call on everyone not to obstruct the work of the parliament and its committees when investigating such cases,” the statement said. ”Parliament is one pillar of the state which enact laws, elects appointees for independent commissions and listens to the complaints of the media and independent [organisations] to protect the rights of its citizens. Therefore, we remind no one to conduct any action that will disregard the sanctity and honour of parliament.”
The MJA said in a statement that it believed the parliamentary General Committee had attempted to narrow press freedom by threatening and pressuring journalists.
The association added that using edited video footage is not against the ethics of journalism and that the full responsibility of what was said in the footage should be taken by the person who said it.