TVM asked to ‘take measures’ against poll staff

The Maldives National Broadcasting Corporation (MNBC) has asked Television Maldives (TVM) to investigate its poll on religious freedom and take measures against those responsible.

Speaking to Minivan News today, Ibrahim Khaleel, managing director of MNBC, said the board has asked Mohamed Asif, deputy director general of MNBC currently in charge of running TVM, to look into the matter after opposition Dhivehi Qaumee Party (DQP) accused the government of attempting to establish other religions in the Maldives.

“I’ve asked Asif to investigate how it happened, and if anyone is responsible, to take measures [against them],” he said. “He will investigate to see if it happened the way they said it did, and take measures based on the findings.”

The poll asked whether freedom of religion should be allowed in the Maldives; the investigation will look into how the topic was chosen and for what purpose, Khaleel said.

In a press release on Monday, the DQP condemned the poll as unconstitutional and accused the government of attempting to introduce religions other than Islam into the Maldives.

The former coalition partner claimed the poll on Sunday night was part of “a devious scheme” intended to show that other religions could be practiced in the country.

The party referred to article 10 of the constitution, which states that Islam shall be the state religion and the basis of all the laws in the Maldives.

Khaleel said he has since watched the show and it was clear that the DQP had taken the poll out of context.

“The discussion was about differences of opinion within Islam, like different sects, and to what extent it should be allowed,” he said.

Two religious scholars, MP Dr Afrashim Ali of the opposition Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party and Sheikh Mohamed Shaheem Ali Saeed, state minister for Islamic affairs, were on the programme.

“If something unconstitutional was being talked about, I find it hard to believe these two scholars would stand by and let it happen,” said Khaleel.

He added it was apparent from DQP’s press release that they did not watch the programme.

Khaleel said it was “regrettable” that a political party was acting “irresponsibly” in issuing such press releases at a time when freedom of speech was in its infancy.

He denied the DQP’s allegation that the poll was taken on orders from the president’s office.

Mohamed Afruh Rasheed, producer of the show, told Minivan News it focuses on “controversial social issues” that were not being openly debated in society or suppressed.

Some of the issues discussed in the programme have included the rights of expatriates and neglect of the elderly as well as press freedom.

The results of Sunday night’s poll were 14 per cent in favour and 82 per cent against.


13 thoughts on “TVM asked to ‘take measures’ against poll staff”

  1. MNBC is investigating this!? What happened to media freedom? The media should be free to discuss this issue.

  2. Talk of media freedom? There is media freedom...but Maldives will always an Islamic country and we should not let anyone discuss religious freedom on our National TV.
    Maldives will always be Islamic 100%...just like Vatican is 100% Christian and may be Switzerland has media freedom, but Muslims are not free. Don't be tempted to these western thinkers, we shall stay our way.

  3. Maldives can remain 100 . But let people speak. Vatican may be 100 but they allow free speech. Why not here?

  4. The tyranny of a constitution that withholds the most basic of freedoms.

  5. Why is MNBC giving Hassan Saeed and his irresponsible comments more credibility than it deserves. Yes we are constitutionally a 100% Islamic state, but so what? Is the national 'ageedhaa' so fragile that any one questioning it, will lead it to implode?

  6. Interesting point made by the DQP about Islam being the state religion. Can an Islamic scholar please explain to us what the meaning of Lakum Dheenakum Valiyadheen means and if it means what I have been told it means that there should be no compulsion in Islam, is the constitution violating a basic principle of Islam? I have been told by some scholars that the Quraan forbids compulsion in Islam

  7. afrasheem is a moderate personally...the guy dint have a problem when the program was going on, he did not have a problem till the next day he thinks it was a horrible thing to take such a poll.

    and these people think its unfair to bane minarets in switzerland. hypocrites!

    our constitution is as crazy as the people who wrote it down. it goes on and on about islam and shariah...without for once defining what is meant by islam, which version of islam we are supposed to follow. if it is left for some other institution or person...then who is the grand mufti of this errr...theocratic-democratic republic ?

    these guys act as if islam is like some guy who does stuff secretly and had to make sure no body knows, and have to work really hard to clear his name.

    congratulations to the producer and team of this program for bringing out issues like these that others wont speak of.

  8. This is not even a matter of "Freedom of Religion".

    It is freedom of opinion that's at stake. The poll was not a referendum on religious freedom, it was an opinion poll.

    Shows the Dhivehi Qaumee party's position on the freedom of Maldivians to have opinions.

    Shame on the party and Hassan Saeed.

  9. This is becoming a culture now. We are twisting every little word for our own hidden agenda. We are exploiting Islam and politics in the name of party-politics. DQP should act responsible. Investigate matters and publish authentic information. Out of fear being criticized, people don’t talk about Islam and when it becomes controversial. Should not we be free to discuss so that we can learn more and love Islam? Islamic Ministry and Government are responsible to clear up such matters on Islam. Should we not discuss matters of different sectors of Islam, are we not allowed to talk about freedom of religion & what else? Are there matters in Islam we should avoid discussing? Is that what Allah says?

  10. Hassan saeed is truly a lady, these kind of accusations most probably comes from village ladies

  11. wait, didnt Dr. Hassan Saeed wrote a book on "freedom of religion"? why is he now complaining about a poll? and why MNBC should investigate TVM based on DQP's pathetic "media release"?

  12. If we are controlled by a religion imposed by a constitution the only way is to leave the country and take refuge in a democracy like USA. With this all talents will be drained out as well and the country will be controlled by mullahs just like Taliban controlled Afghanistan. Good luck to new democracy in Maldives and good buy to Maldives.


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