Police clash with journalists during opposition protests

Several journalists from different media organisations have reported violent police attacks on journalists covering the opposition Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party (DRP)-led protest last night.

The protest began last night as a gathering in front of party’s head office, but degenerated into a riot when protesters marched to the President’s official residence of Muleeage.

Police attempted to restrict the activists from going any further when they reached Sosun Magu, but demonstrators broke through police lines and continued their march.

A journalist from Miadhu, Three journalists from DhiTV, two journalists from VillaTV, one from newspaper Miadhu and a photographer from Haveeru reported they were attacked by the police.

The two journalists from VillaTV were also arrested, handcuffed, and released the same evening.

Editor of DhiTV Midhath Hilmy claimed that three journalists from DhiTV were injured during the riot.

“One was hit by a tear gas canister and his head was bleeding, another journalist’s leg was injured,” said Midhath. “Police hit another DhiTV journalist three times in a chest with a baton.”

Midhath said all the journalists from DhiTV was wearing their press identification and were carrying video cameras.

Police were the persons supposed to protect the journalists, Midhath said, adding that he regretted the police attacks and hoped it would not occur next time.

‘’According to video footage take by journalists, I can see police have tried to stop the coverage and sometimes had covered the camera by putting their hands on it,’’ he said. “They also ordered the media to stop the coverage.’’

Editor of Miadhu Abdul ‘Gabbe’ Latheef told Minivan News that according to the injured Miadhu journalist, the police attacked her with baton while she was showing them her press card.

‘’She told me that some of the police referred to her rudely, while other police officers provided assistance to her,’’ said Latheef. “The media should condemn these actions.”

Latheef said he understood that the police were in a difficult situation and  “had communication errors and difficulty identifying journalists.”

‘’The case should be investigated by an independent body,’’ he added.

Local media reported that police actions were violent and hostile, and that police attacked the journalists deliberately while they were staying in the area police officers had advised them to remain in.

However, Police Sub-Inspector Ahmed Shiyam denied the claims and said some of the journalists working in the area had begun to show the characteristics as the opposition activists and engaged in hostile confrontations with the police.

‘’Some journalists opposed police orders and refused to stay in the security zone,” Shiyam said. “It would have gone smoothly if they had worked according to the orders,’’ said Shiyam. “Some journalists who opposed the police were moved away by using force.’’

He also claimed that journalists had tried to break the police lines and pass through the cordon. A Minivan News journalist was meanwhile obstructed from entering the area to cover the incident.

President of the Maldives Journalist Association Ahmed ‘Hiriga’ Zahir described the incident as “a black day for journalism in the Maldives”, and claimed that at least nine reporters were attacked by police with batons and shields.

“We will investigate each and every injury and ask journalists to send us their accounts of the incident.”

While those injured “were members of the mainstream media, reputable journalists”, Hiriga said he had heard reports that there might have been other journalists in the area “from an underground website”.

“It is an issue and some people have argued that the government should issue media accreditation,” Hiriga said. “The MJA doesn’t agree the government should do this – it needs to be an independent body.”

Image courtesy Maldives Journalists Association.


14 thoughts on “Police clash with journalists during opposition protests”

  1. I have learnt that political activism in the Maldives is dirty, dehumanizing and is driven by the wrong motives. I can see that this was the case when the MDP were the activists and is the case now. I hate politics. It is the filthiest game on the planet, lower than prostitution and drug dealing. Yet it is a neccessary evil.
    I have learnt, if one wants to do something good for Maldives, promote compassion, do some charity for orphans and help the drug addict etc...

    A democratic, compassionate Maldives will never be realized by replacing the President or by rearranging the constitution. A democratic Maldives will only be realized bottom up through a gradual revolution in people's hearts.

  2. Very neatly covered. There might also be underground MDP activist police officers wearing uniforms of Maldives Police services(Star Force). That's also possible. I mean given the nature of Maldivian politics.

    I have a feeling that Maldivian democracy will not be fulfilled unless we see all of history repeated.

  3. No journalist wud have been injured if they first learn to obey police.
    They think they are so great they dont have to obey police just because they have a press pass.

  4. Sad Sad sad ... Police headed by President Nasheed are brutally assaulting civilians and the media. This is exactly what happened with President Gayoom as the head of police as well. If Gayoom was a dictator President Nasheed is A DICTATOR IN THE MAKING".

    I hear that nepotism has also on the rise under President Nasheed.

  5. I'm surprised people say there's been demonstrations by DRP.

    What we saw was a mob rampage supported by Opposition political parties to bring down a 2 year old government.

    What kind of a political party gathers at 10 o'clock in the evening and march through the narrow streets of Male screaming and shouting until early morning hours?

    Male is a 3 sq km piece of land and over crowded with houses, vehicles and people.

    The Police should not have given an opportunity for the Media to make such a complain.

    During last week's protests the police did not use a heavy hand. The result was they attacked the police and rounded the President's house and the Police Headquarters like lunatics until after midnight.

    This time, instruction was given by the media editors and publishers to their journalist to break the police line first so that the DRP mob can break through them.

    VTV is a TV station owned by Gasim Ibrahim the leader of one of the Opposition parties - the Jumhooree Party.

    DhiTV and Dhifm are owned by Resort owner and businessman Champa Hussein Afeef. He is Gayoom's sympathizer and one of the people who largely benefited from Gayoom's 30 year regime.

    Miadhu is owned by one of the sympathizers of Gayoom and a longstanding Minister of Gayoom's government. Although he signed as a member of MDP, most people believe that it is just a front to show people that he is not aligned with government.

    And Hiriga, nobody takes you seriously except for a few international organizations who do not know what kind of s*** your news organizations produce!

  6. Do it the MDP way or else you will end up in such embarrasing situations. DRP need to learn a lot from MDP like;
    1 - How to bring down the government?
    2 - How to organize and execute a protest successfully.
    3 - How to increase party membership?
    4 - How to win elections?
    5 - How to obtain majority in Parliament?

    Thasneem, please approach Anni and ask for help!!
    hehehehe........... dhen lalalalala

  7. Just watched the so called media DhiTV reporting on last night's mob attack.

    They provided the news item on last nights so-called protest with a 'report' The report is an opinion of the reporter, with an evident stand of his/her on last night's incident supported with edited clips of video recordings.

    There was absolutely no comment from the police or the government.

    Such is the media in the Maldives!

  8. President Nasheed is not perfect, but anyone who supports Yameen is either completely naive, a total coward, or absolutely corrupt.

  9. we are talking about self made journalist who cant even spell journalist right. All they do is spread yellow paparazzi. These are party activists and not journalist. And guess they need to be beaten down for trying to cross the police line. madness

  10. @well..are we to sacrifice our lives for Mr Nasheed being not perfect..dont we have a part to choose a perfect president when plenty are available !!!!!..does it have to mdp n Mr Nasheed to rule us?? bodu blaa eththaa dho...

  11. @...... on Wed:
    You are correct. No politician is worth your sacrifice. Make sacrifice for your family and ppl. Male sacrifice for the sick, the outcast. LET Anni, Yameen, Thasmeen, Hassan Saeed, Umar, AND WHOEVER ELSE, let them smash themselves to pieces for power seems thats what they are intent on forcing you to do for them. If they are all so crazy for power so as to be willing to destroy, then they better destroy themselves.

    No, of course not, nobody needs all this violence for any political leader.

    You are asking me if you have a choice? How the hell should I know if you do or don't have a choice, figure it out for yourself and act on it. Why the hell don't you run for President yourself seems you're so willing to bleed for someone to be your leader might as well do it for your self.

    You will be as good as anybody else, ...on Wed, because with the way things are, NOBODY can govern Maldives because most politicians are way too violent and impatient to rule effectively. I'll campaign for you, why the hell not, what difference would it make?

  12. lets analyse Maldivian media, shall we?
    MNBC - "state" media
    DhiTV - "DRP" media
    VTV - "Qasim" media
    so, just tell me exactly, how credible the Maldivian Media is now. and speaking about Police assulting media officials, what would happen if media and civil people start to get in between a mob and Police in the riot gear? it shouldnt take a genius to figure out there will be many things happening (beyond Police hitting a media person). so just tell me how police assaulted media officials? and protesting in the middle of the night chanting "down with Anni" or "down with cabinet", i dont think DRP is really exercising their right to assembly properly. if anything, DRP should be responsible for all that happened that night. its not just DRP and political parties living in this country. i also have rights just like any one of those politicians... rights... ha!


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