DhiTV and VTV take 50% of media subsidies, Parliament reveals

Parliament has announced the distribution of one-off subsidies to be received by the media this year, with 50 percent of a total Rf 4 million being allocated to VTV and DhiTV.

35 percent has been allocated to radio and 15 percent to print media.

“I personally don’t think it’s fair,” noted President of the Maldives Journalists Association (MJA) and editor of Haveeru, Ahmed ‘Hiriga’ Zahir, but said but could not give any further comment on the matter.

Press Secretary for the President’s Office, Mohamed Zuhair explained the funds for the subsidies were allocated by the Parliamentary Finance Committee “after they made  amendments to the budget.”

“They should not be deciding administrative methods of how it should be given out,” he observed.

The country’s new media council, elected today and intended to regulate the media in the country, has the MJA more concerned, however.

The council consists of fifteen members, seven of whom have been elected from the public and the remaining eight from the media sector.

Hiriga said “we don’t agree with this sort of council [because] almost half [the members] are nominated from the government.” He added these members were “elected on a political basis” and it was not “a right thing to do.”

The eight members of the media to be in the council are: Saif Azhar from Haama Daily; Mohamed Nazeef from Atoll Radio; Shiyam Mohamed Waheed from VTV; Ahmed Abdulla Shaheed from Haveeru; Musoon Hilmy from DhiFM; Ahmed Muhsin from TVM; Mohamed Haleem (Sungari) and Ismail Rasheed.

Hiriga said the council would have the power, not to censor media, but to inform the public whether they believe a report “is biased or wrong.”

He said he was lobbying with the government to try to “block” the council, and are “sending amendments to the Parliament.” He believes the media should monitor itself.

Zuhair said the media council “is necessary” and because a majority of the members are from the media, “they will surely be fair.”

Minister for Tourism, Arts and Culture, Dr Ali Sawad, said the the idea of a media council has been discussed before and there has been “legislation to that effect” proposed to Parliament earlier.

He said the council was meant to “regulate the media” and they would look at “ethical issues and all regulatory aspects of the media.”

Dr Sawad noted the council would not be politically influenced since members have been “elected by peers” from both the general public and the media. He added the council would be “an independent legislative authority” that would operate under the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture.

Who got what

Parliament has released a list stating how much money each news company will receive. All the figures are in Maldivian Ruffiya and amount to a total of Rf 4 million.

DhiTV: 820,000.00

Villa TV: 1,060,000.00

Future TV: 120,000.00

DhiFM: 434,000.00

HFM: 56,000.00

Radio Atoll: 294,000.00

Sun FM: 364,000.00

Faraway FM: 252,000.00

Haveeru Daily: 246,000.00

Aafathis Daily: 162,000.00

Miadhu News: 102,000.00

Haama Daily: 90,000.00


9 thoughts on “DhiTV and VTV take 50% of media subsidies, Parliament reveals”

  1. Of course it is fair for these media outlets to get subsidies from public purse. And it is also fair that the one with highest circulation gets highest amount. And it is fair that hirigaa thinks that it is ok.
    It is funny that he says that media should monitor itself. Why don't the media finance itself? Just like everybody trying to make a living.
    There is no such thing as an independent media when they take in money from the state.

    The media has already failed the public by looting them already.

  2. @meekaaku 70% of BBC is financed by the state, but you wouldn't question their balance.

    What's not siad in this news??
    By not publishing gov notice on privet media the gov saved 30million Rf, and eventually dozens of print media went bankrupt. However gov (with all big promises) has not spent a dime on media development. So while it is gravely unfair how Majlis distributed money, it is the irresponsibility of the gov that lead the Majlis to take this on to their own hands.

    Self Regulatory Media Council
    i too agree in "developed" countries the media is regulated by a "voluntary" council of the press and that it is not mandatory by law, basically saying self regulatory. But here in Maldives we should agree that we have a culture that if it is not specifically provided for in legislation then its credibility and legitimacy is put to question. For example MJA is a very active NGO calling for media issues but there are many who question their intentions and there are many media organizations that doesn't want to affiliate with MJA. So will self regulator system as MJA wants will work?

    Or wouldn't it be better to amended the council law to institute more attributes of self regulation. For example the formation of the council can be changed to exclude public members and only have media persones voted by media organizations. And many more changes as such.

    Hiriga and Meida Council

    Hiriga saying he is trying to block the council election because, half of its members are elected on political baisi. It is the law that provide the basis that; from the public who shows intrest to join the council the ministry should pick 14 and send to a meeting of all media organizations to be elected from them 7 who will become members of the council with 8 from media. So if there is a political basis here it is only because it is specified by law.

    And it was only 3 months ago that he went to meet with president and begged to form Media Council. Now he wants to block it?

    And what is minister Sawad saying?? how can "an independent legislative authority” operate under the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture.???? There is nothing about working under a gov ministry in the media council law. It is an independent legislative authority and that is. It will function in its own office, with its own staff, with its own mandate and should only be answerable to the public.

  3. Who are the members elected from the public? Why are their names not included in this report?

  4. why isn't the civil society eligible for subsidies when the media is?

    surely the civil society is at a greater risk of collapsing due to dire economic circumstances. the role of the nascent civil society is quite important (if not more important) than the media.

    I suppose neither the government nor the opposition care about the civil society now

  5. Media which I believe means, the various means of mass communication considered as a whole, including television, radio, magazines, and newspapers, together with the people involved in their production.

    What about the many magazines and other means of 20th century media and the people who work with these?

    I would genuinely ask. Is this fair?

    Hirigaa (a damn FARCE by self), DhiTV (of the Champa Brand that having been holding on to the 3 corners of Male' for decades and making millions or billions annually on them), are all capitalistic parts of an engine that has been operating on OUR money for decades.

    These phony elements must be eradicated immediately and now if we want to make life easy in Maldives!

  6. This is ridiculous!

    How on earth did they come up with this allocation. Next, the Majlis will be providing subsidies to resort owners. Civil Service beware, they will make sure the Rf 7 billion set by GOM will not be a reality.

    The Majlis has no mandate or expertise to administer subsidies or to manage the national finances. It should be left to the Government.

    Majlis must focus on their primary function, to complete the laws, in order to maintain law and order in this country. Majlis members are wasting public money with minimum or no output and they should be stopped.

  7. ahmed,
    i am fully aware that bbc is financed by mandatory tv licenses. Is it fair that one has to pay bbc a fee just because they own a tv? Whether they want to watch bbc or not.? Or should we adopt such a scheme to finance our private media ?
    And no. Bbc also has its own selective reporting.

  8. meekaaku
    My point is simple, state helping media development financially or by other means should not effect the independence of media.

    How to provid that help is simply another issue to debate. To start with Majlis do not even have that mandate to give subsidy to specific media organizations.

    The money could have been given to the government for media training projects or show have been distributed with the advice of some independent institutions.


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