Expressing solidarity with missing Minivan News journalist Ahmed Rilwan, opposition aligned broadcaster Raajje TV’s staff have today donned black and blurred presenter’s faces on news segments regarding the disappearance.
Explaining the decision, Raajje TV said, “Rilwan has been disappeared, but we will not let it be forgotten for one moment.”
The station said it will continue with focusing out on news segments regarding Rilwan until facts of his disappearance are clear.
“Raajje TV’s main focus at the moment is to find Rilwan alive. We hope to see Rilwan back in journalism as soon as possible,” the station said in a statement today.
Raajje TV itself has suffered numerous attacks over the past two years, including vandalism of equipment and an arson attack that destroyed its offices and equipment. The station’s News Head Ibrahim ‘Asward’ Waheed also survived a near fatal assault in February 2012.
Expressing empathy with Rilwan’s family, Raajje TV called on the government, law enforcement agencies, media, civil society organizations and the public to step up efforts to find Rilwan.
“A Maldivian and a member of the Maldivian media family has been abducted and disappeared. Raajje TV believes a thorough investigation must be conducted and facts must be made known in this case,” the station said.
The Maldives Police Services have revealed very little information on the case. The passports of four individuals have reportedly been held over the case.
The station’s news site www.raajje.mv has also hosted a banner counting the days since Rilwan’s disappearance.
Minivan News Managing Editor Daniel Bosley thanked Raajje TV for its “incredible coverage.”
“It has been of great comfort during these difficult weeks to know that we have the support of others in the media community. We will continue to draw strength from the support of Raajje TV and other journalists as we continue the campaign to find Rilwan.”
Today marks the 25th day since Rilwan’s disappearance. Evidence gathered by Minivan News suggests Rilwan was abducted. Eyewitnesses said they saw a man being forced into a car at knifepoint infront of Rilwan’s apartment building on the night he disappeared.
Rilwan’s family and friends have meanwhile launched an extensive campaign to pressure government, including petitions, meeting state agencies, and raising public awareness on the issue.
Rilwan’s mother, Aminath Easa, 67, has also urged all families of victims of violent crime to work together to ensure justice.A meeting of families has been called for Wednesday September 3, at 9pm in Malé City Hall.
An Avaaz petition has also been launched calling on the Maldives government to expedite the search to find Rilwan and to guarantee a safe environment for all journalists, human rights defenders and bloggers in the Maldives.