Raajje TV’s report on Supreme Court not a national security threat: MBC

Opposition aligned broadcaster Raajje TV’s report criticizing the judiciary does not threaten national security, the Maldives Broadcasting Commission (MBC) has told Chief Justice Ahmed Faiz.

In October, the Supreme Court requested the MBC to investigate Raajje TV after it broadcast a report comparing the apex court to the the corrupt judges from Koranic city of Sodom.

The report, titled “Magey Report” (My report), especially highlighted the case of Supreme Court Judge Ali Hameed whose alleged appearance a sex-tape is currently under investigation. Ali Hameed is still a sitting judge on the Supreme Court bench.

“While you have mentioned in the letter referred here that “Magey Report” broadcasted on Rajje Tv in the evening of 19 October 2013 contained content that is a threat to national security, this commission did not notice any such content during our investigation”  read the MBC’s letter sent on Thursday.

However, the commission ruled that the content of the report violated several codes of the Broadcasting Code of Practice. The commission has ordered Raajje TV not to broadcast the report again without amending it and has asked the station to broadcast an apology message.

According to the commission, Raajje TV had used language and references against socially accepted standards, broadcast content that could insult or reduce the sanctity, honor and dignity of a person or persons, and broadcast the report in a manner that could violate rights of children.

MBC noted the Supreme Court had asked for the investigation to be completed within ten days even though the Broadcasting Act allows a 60 day investigation period.

The Supreme Court had also ordered Maldives Police Service to investigate the report, in response to which MPS conducted a criminal investigation and sent the case to Prosecutor General’s Office late November.

During the investigation, the Channel’s Deputy CEO Yaameen Rasheed and News Head Ibrahim ‘Asward’ Waheed were summoned by the Police. Raajje TV has chosen to remain silent

The Maldives Media Council and MBC expressed concern over the Supreme Court’s order describing it as “obstruction of press freedom”.

The MBC requested the Supreme Court to repeal the court order, however the request was denied. Chief Justice Ahmed Faiz Hussain threatened to take action against “those who spread false information about judges without respecting the sanctity of the court” saying contempt of court will not be allowed.

Serious concerns about the Maldives judiciary have been raised by various International institutions and experts, including the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Independence of Judges and Lawyers Gabriela Knaul, International Commission of Jurists and the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay.


2 thoughts on “Raajje TV’s report on Supreme Court not a national security threat: MBC”

  1. It is time the media of the Maldives took serious and credible action against the out-of-control Chief Justice and his bench of human rights violators masquerading as justices! There was a reason that Maldives acceded in September 2006 to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and also the Optional Protocol to the ICCPR, despite vehement opposition to doing so from Mr Abdulla Yamin, then Minister for something or the other. Yamin himself invoked ICCPR in the Court when he himself was detained (arbitrarily) by the MDP government in July 2010.

    Raajje TV should not apologize to the Supreme Court; instead it must lodge a petition to the UN Human Rights Committee, complaining against the ruling of both the MBC and the Supreme Court. Chief Justice Faiz should be made to understand that gone are the days when the people of Maldives should tremble and fall when the Chief Justice gets angry. But for him to realize that, the question must be put to the Human Rights Committee whether the current laws in the country and the rulings of the judiciary and oversight bodies are in violation of the international obligations of Maldives. If we are not prepared to use the safeguards we have, we risk falling under the total control of thugs who declare a national security threat in any criticism of their wayward and corrupt activities. Even if Raajje TV felt that it would not survive without an apology, and should proceed to do so, it can still file a petition with the Human Rights Committee in Geneva against the violation of its Article 19 rights.

    We must not forget that part of the reason that M A Gayoom embarked on a series of reforms in 2003 was that the Commission of Human Rights began to examine the Gayoom government's human rights record in relation to the media, esp the Sandaanu case, and ruled against the government in August 2013.


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