Parliamentary Group Leader of the Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) Moosa ‘Reeko’ Manik, has claimed that private broadcasting channels in the Maldives are operated with “ill-gotten” money.
“These TV channels misuse freedom of media to assassinate the characters of political figures whose minds do not coincide with theirs,’’ alleged Moosa.
Moosa criticised the country’s private channels for “never speaking about anything done right by the current government.”
“Everything we do: these TV channels will talk about it wrongly as if it was bad for the people,’’ Moosa claimed.
“Even though we construct a mosque on an island, they will speak about it as if it was not good for the people,” he said.
Moosa accused Villa TV (VTV), owned by leader of the minority opposition Jumhoree Party (JP) Gasim ‘Buruma’ Ibrahim, and DhiTV, owned by Hassan ‘Champa’ Afeef, of misleading people by hiding all the development projects conducted by the government. The announcers of the channels “who cooperate with these organisations should be ashamed to do so,” he claimed.
“Freedom of expression is not only for the benefit of the media – if the media is falling from the right path, people have the right to express opinions against the media,’’ Moosa said.
Editor of DhiTV, Midhath Adam, said that Moosa’s remarks were obviously aimed at the owners of VTV and DhiTV.
‘’If Moosa was referring to the DhiTV news, that technically means he is attempting to narrow freedom of expression,” Midhath said.
“Whether Moosa likes it or not, we have to broadcast the different opinions and ideas of different people,’’ he said. “Anyway, this is just Moosa’s point of view. We can digest criticism and we are not outraged because of these comments,’’ he said.
In a press statement last week, the Maldives Journalists Association “strongly condemned” remarks made by Moosa on August 17, when the MP publicly threatened “action” against VTV for “repeatedly misleading and broadcasting news in a way that smears respect for MDP”.
“MJA also sad to note that a senior official of MDP – a party known for voicing free media – has repeatedly slated the media… and incited public hatred against journalism,” the MJA said.
In a retaliatory statement, Moosa claimed “some TV stations were established with the intention to cause civil unrest among the citizens, smear the respect of political figures in the country, and bother their personal life.”
“I am astonished that the MJA is silent about this matter,” he said, adding that the fact media were airing such claims was evidence that media freedom existed.