Raajje TV returns to air with donated equipment, after station’s firebombing

Hours after an arson attack that destroyed its offices, opposition-aligned TV station Raajje TV began rebroadcasting with donated equipment at 12:40pm today, showing a report compiled with CCTV footage of the destruction of its offices.

“We have to start from zero. But Raajje TV will never die,” the station’s News Head Ibrahim ‘Asward’ Waheed told Minivan News.

The CCTV footage shows five masked men armed with machetes hacking at the locks on a reinforced steel grill. After destroying the lock and yanking open the grill, five men break through a second wooden door as a sixth man holds the building’s security guard hostage.

The footage then cuts to an indoor camera showing the arsonists dousing the station’s computers and desks and main lobby with petrol.

One of the men appears to threaten the security guard while the other attempts to calm him. The guard was later stabbed and hospitalised with critical injuries.

One of the masked attackers pours a trail of petrol out the door as the others retreat downstairs. He lights the trail, creating a fiery explosion that briefly engulfs him. He stumbles down the stairs, just as fireball inside in office explodes the door of the station off its hinges. Further footage shows a massive explosion of fire in the control room of the station.

The arson attack took place after the station requested police protection, following advance warnings it received the previous night of an impending attack. Police Spokesperson Chief Inspector Hassan Haneef confirmed to Minivan News this morning that police had received the letter requesting security, and said they “took action by patrolling the area.”

Asward, who in February 2013 was attacked by assailants with an iron bar that left him with near-fatal head injuries, said the station had restarted broadcasting from offices in a new building with equipment donated by the public, and had taken third party insurance for all of the station’s staff.

“I have been attacked. Our station’s reporters have been assaulted, beaten, arrested and threatened. Critical cables in our control room were cut. But we have always managed to overcome that” Asward told Minivan News.

The station restarted its broadcast with an interview of the Vice President of the Maldives Broadcasting Commission (MBC) Mohamed Shaheeb, followed by CCTV footage of the attack and an interview with former President and Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) presidential candidate Mohamed Nasheed.

“We will not be able to cover live events because all of our equipment has been destroyed. We will not be able to bring in-depth coverage of the news as we have done in the past,” Asward said.

The station was destroyed on the same day as the Supreme Court’s much-anticipated ruling on whether to allow elections to go ahead.

Vice President of the Maldives Broadcasting Commission (MBC) Mohamed Shaheeb has harshly condemned the torching of Raajje TV.

“This is a cowardly act that violates vital democratic principles of freedom of expression and press. This commission calls for an investigation and prosecution of those involved,” he said.

The US Embassy has also expressed concern regarding the “upsurge in political violence.”

“The United States believes that a free and fair democratic political process depends on peaceful competition at the ballot box and an independent media available to all citizens. We urge authorities to quickly bring to justice those involved in these attacks and call for an end to all violence and political retaliation,” read a statement issued today.

The Maldives Media Council (MMC) condemned the arson attack as an attempt to “eliminate” one of the country’s most watched broadcasters, and criticised security forces to do more to protect journalism.

“Last night’s attack on Raajje TV Station, among the most viewed local channels by most Maldivians, was aimed to permanently shut down its service,” said the media body in statement.

“In view of that, MMC has continuously requested to investigate these cases and asked security providers to be more attentive to media security issues. MMC is consciously discussing all relevant stakeholders to ensure protection of journalists and media stations. Nevertheless, there has not been much progress on this issue,” read the statement.

MMC President Husham Mohamed said the regulatory body would be raising an “issue” with the Police Integrity Commission (PIC) over today’s attack.

According to Raajje TV the station had an audience of at least 95,000 people, one of the largest shares of Maldivian media. It reached India and Sri Lanka, and is also streamed online.

The attack is the second raid on the station’s building by masked assailants. In the first attack, in August 2012, the attackers sabotaged equipment in the station and cut critical cabling.

CCTV footage of the attack on Raajje TV:


19 thoughts on “Raajje TV returns to air with donated equipment, after station’s firebombing”

  1. This was organised, funded and directed by the same people who toppled the elected government on 7th February 2012. No question about that. Just pure logic dictates that this is the case.

    (1) Police were notified in writing, SMS, and over the telephone about threats last night. Apparently two policemen were seen just 10 minutes before the attackers arrived on the scene. Collusion? Certainly.

    (2) Will the police ever find these rats? No, of course not! Despite the very clear footage of their build, height, hair and details of their manner, the police will never find a trace of them. Not a chance.

    (3) Jameel has been openly instigating this for sometime. Who stands shoulder to shoulder with Jameel? Indeed.

    (4) We've all seen threats targeted at even this new outlet by posters here, including personal attacks. As I've said before, those who took power on 7th February 2012 entered a one way street. There's no way out for them. They cannot afford to lose their grip. The fact that it's a matter of life and death has been clearly and absolutely been shown to all.

    This is the first "real" opening of the war.

  2. fake raaje tv who had donate the equipments in such a short time. may b the ones who had burnt the place isnt it?

  3. something is very fishy here. its obvious its a insider's job. mdp so desperate to get sympathy.

  4. Donated equipments my foot, this is all staged and preplanned. We all are not fools to buy these nonsense.

  5. Can we get over this fake drama! This is a fake stunt instigated by mdp and their goons that were hurling bats at the police the other night. Why did they suddenly stop the ongoing protest last night which was supposed to go on until today. Probably getting ready for the big fakery. And well captured goons on well operated cc. Not a problem to capture them. Probably known to seyku nasheed. Duhhh! He was the one who said afrasheem killers have departed to the middle east??!why is'nt anybody asking this q?

    And my, how generous of people to gift rajje tv with equipment worth thousands. Pretty fast !?
    Who's that rich? I thought mdp was a poor party fighting for the poor?

  6. @Ekaloa on Mon, 7th Oct 2013 8:25 PM

    "Donated equipments my foot, this is all staged and preplanned. We all are not fools to buy these nonsense."

    I hope you are not a fool for believing that you can hide on the internet with a fake nickname!

  7. Those who think its fake:aren't you choking in the sand by now? Either you are delusional or you are being paid to write your nonsense, in the hope that those reading this are idiotic enough to believe your claptrap. This has happened and it is happening and it bears the hallmarks of the thugs who messed everything up for our country from Feb 7 and the run up to that. Incompetent, corrupt, unimaginative - these are some of the words that come to mind - they are a shame on the name of the proud Maldivians. We are a pretty dignified and hardy lot, to have survived so far - these guys will have to go as they have come.No amount of propaganda and tomfoolery on their part is going to convince those that can think for themselves, which believe it or not is still the majority. To those of you who want to keep insisting that this was an MDP staged drama - duh duh and duh. The valid (like it or not) election round one results prove that the majority aren't you. By all means keep deluding yourselves that anyone buys the nonsense that comes from one place - you

  8. funny thing is the new setup looks a lot better than the one they used to have. strange isnt it? toxict, are you blind or what? anyone with common sense knows its a inside job. dirty mdp doing whatever it takes to get sympathy and create chaos. pathetic indeed.

  9. This is awesome. The PPM mercenaries were celebrating the 'death' of RTV in their little private facebook groups; I think they're in denial. 😀

    They have seen the effectiveness of the People of Maldives. Will they dare to attack such an organized, rapid-deployment army?

  10. Dear toxic,
    CC footage with no time frame,date,crystal clear color images are an invention of seyku nasheed,is it?
    If it is then maldivians are better equiped than the americans. They never showed a crystal clear image of bin laden blowing up the two towers

    Your mind is caged
    to believe whatever seyku nasheed tells you. Probably because of all the woodoo magic filled
    Bodibai you eat from mdp rallies!

  11. Hey shimy, you should listen to him admitting to it. 😛

    By the way, your lock-breaking skills suck. 😀

  12. A media stunt - thats all.

    The station was up and running immediately after the 'incident'..

    By now, the international media knows enough about Maldives to separate actors from real actors! Good luck with the well organized stunt to attract publicity.

  13. @shimy on Mon, 7th Oct 2013 11:22 PM

    "Bodibai you eat from mdp rallies!"

    Are you talking about Jameel again? Never seen him in an MDP rally. You must be smoking something too strong for you.

    RTV is back with the help of the generous people of Maldives who believe in a cause worth fighting for. You cannot erase an ideology however hard you try. Burn or raze to the ground, more of the same will spring up like mushrooms. That's the good thing about ideology.

  14. Ahmed bin..

    Which ideology are you speaking about?? Oh, the one in America where to protec t freedom you go and master up your own terrorist acts like the one in Sandy hook, boston bombing and capital hill car chase just because the whole nation is swimming on debts of ttrillions! This is a fact, look on history . Example- gulf of tolken if I remember it correctly!

    This type of aron attacks are a fabrication displayed on the public to thwart attention by political parties and to garner sympathy,fear.
    Look at the incident on vtv. Their membes started it and mdp joined in later!

    Now mdp starts everything and blame others.

  15. And I wish your seyku nasheed tell his ideology directly to the public instead of lying and bitching about where he stands in the realm of religion. He will never go into details because he is a coward. I would really vote for him even if he is a christian if he, himself is clear on this part of his character!

  16. I see shimy has no idea/is paid well to whitewash what happens worldwide to further serve his masters.

    And religion has nothing to do with politics. At least he's honest on his stand on religion, while your priests are hypocrites - pretending to be muslim, while eating ribaa money, and money earned from pork and alcohol sales.

    Your mullahs dont fool anyone now. They're nothing more than political prostitutes.


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