Journalists association condemns death threats against TVM presenter

The Maldives Journalist Association (MJA) has condemned death threats against state broadcaster Television Maldives (TVM) Deputy Editor Aishath Leeza Laurella.

The presenter had been the subject of criticism from certain political groups over the past week after a series of programmes  interviewing the candidates of next month’s presidential election.

After the ‘siyaasath’ (policy) show’s inaugural interview with Jumhoree Party (JP)  candidate Ibrahim Gasim, party officials accused the presenter of attempting to “demean” its candidate.

In a statement issued today, the MJA said that giving death threats because of the questions asked by a journalist or television presenter is not acceptable and slammed it as an act to terminate press freedom in the country.

The MJA called on the police to hasten the investigation of the case and stated that the interviews with the presidential candidates represented important work done by the media.

Police media officials today told Minivan News that a case was filed with police by Maldives Broadcasting Commission (MBC) alleging that a group of people were plotting an attack on Leeza, posing a threat to her life.

The official explained that the investigation of the case was ongoing and that no arrests had yet been made. He declined to provide further information beyond this.

TVM is scheduled to televise a four-way presidential debate on September 1. Gasim’s JP yesterday confirmed that their candidate would be taking part, after suggestions he was considering a boycott of the station.

Press Freedom

In February this year, Leeza and a second TVM journalist were hospitalised after being hit by projectiles containing some kind of irritant which local media reported to be paint thinner.

On the same evening, Ibrahim ‘Aswad’  Waheed – a reporter for private broadcaster Raajje TV – was left in a critical condition after being badly beaten by two men using iron bars in Male’.

In mid-2012, controversial blogger Hilath Rasheed had his throat slashed in an alleyway on Chandhanee Magu.

Rasheed was initially given a five percent chance of survival, but later recovered. He has since fled the country. No arrests were made in the case.

The Maldives plummeted to 103rd in the Reporters Without Borders (RSF) Press Freedom Index for 2013, a fall of 30 places and a return to pre-2008 levels.

The Paris-based organisation included ‘extremist religious groups’ in the Maldives in its ‘Predators of Freedom of Information’ report for 2013.

The 2013 report accused “leaders and members of fanatical groups in the Maldives” of “intimidating media organisations and bloggers and threatening them with physical harm in order to force them to exercise self-censorship.”

TVM was itself the scene of violence during the chaos surrounding former President Mohamed Nasheed’s resignation on February 7, 2012. The gates of the station – known as the Maldives National Broadcasting Corporation (MNBC) prior to the transfer of power – were broken down by rampaging security forces.

“A policeman shouted that we [MNBC] have brought enough of what government wanted. Now its time for them to broadcast what they want,” recalled one staff member.

The employee said that they were then ordered to patch through the Villa Television (VTV) channel, owned by JP leader Gasim. The nation then watched VTV on the state television’s frequency before the feed was cut off and came back on, re-branded as TVM.

VTV soon became the victim of further violence as opponents of current president, Dr Mohamed Waheed Hassan, attacked the station’s studios during unrest surrounding the attempted re-opening of parliament.


10 thoughts on “Journalists association condemns death threats against TVM presenter”

  1. The problem that lies at the bottom of all this is that the police truly do not give a **** about protecting innocent civilians. Most of them have the same compassion towards the common man an accountant would have for the documents in his cupboard. Things are best when it's nice and orderly. Who wants numbers speaking back at you? Why would you want numbers speaking to you and asking questions? What if the numbers didn't even add up? What if the squares wanted a root? Better to keep them locked up, nice and tidy.

    The other problem is that most Maldivians do not care at all about the well being of their fellow brothers and sisters. Instead of caring about their health they care about what's in their hearts and minds. They care more about showing off how much favour they have with their god. When Hilath got stabbed, there were screams of joy from many who used it as precedence to threaten further attempts at people exercising their right to free speech. Instead of caring about this man almost dying, or even the greater implications where a voice can be silenced by knives in the dark, people chose to gloat. Would they feel more compassion if it was their own flesh and blood that chose to speak too much? Or would they just leave them lying on the ground, in a bloody pool with the rest of this countries warped sense of national pride. What pride is there in intolerance? What pride is there in supporting your side blindly, whether it be religious or political, to the point where murders and violent attacks just become another passing irrelevant frame in this twisted carnival of a society that some of us are still audacious enough to have hope for. They call their intolerance nationalism and the scary part is that it's half true; we are a nation founded on the blood of our murdered ancestors. Right now there are people that dream of repeating that incident. The question is whether or not intolerance is a personality trait this nation needs to keep.

  2. All the while I thought yameen was the mob boss, it seems Mr. Burma serious about toppling. Yaameen. In that regard I think he has very clearly managed to induce a environmnet offear for journalists asking the hard questions.
    MR Burma Gasims policies in action, ladies and gents

  3. The problem is that Nasheed does not have the capacity to digest anything . He does not have any tolerance to anything.

    He only want to hear good about him and he does not want people to talk about his arrogance, rudeness and authoritarian rules etc.

  4. The culture of silencing critics seems inherited in Maalu Dhivehin is from Sinhalese of their sibling in Sri Lanka. We see this culture in Sri Lanka where journalists are attacked and killed. This is a proof that The Maalu Dhivehin was originated from the Sinhalese in Sri Lanka as both share lot in common such as this kind of barbarism.

    Maalu Dhivehin has a blood of such barbarism and a belief system that also encourages silencing any opposition through violence. This Makes Dhivehistan more dangerous for journalists.

    I don’t know what kind of brain these morons have. Burgers can’t tolerate anything that doesn’t suite their f***ing ears. Seems these savages are intellectual deficient and can’t defeat any argument through dialogue and opt to use violence to claim victory.

    I hope Hitlers’s Eugenic movement was succeeded so we don’t have this subhuman race and people of the world would have lead more peaceful life today.

  5. Kurimbee kalo anni aa hithaavefatha thi hunnanee? Why dont you grow up and learn to comment worthy of a man 🙂

  6. Ta da! By reading this article you'll definitely get the culprit, Minivan staff has totally put the words into the readers mouth! Bravo for doing the old "put the idea into the brain"reporting tactic!It's done all over the world!

    Now minivan staff should play a big role in the investigation part where they give information about these so called claims? Even if they find the claims to be wrong, the idea, will still remain in the readers mind!

    Reporters without borders should not only look into the third world countries but the Ape Brained Advanced ones. Sheesh!! Which country doesn't have subspecies??? We have one in this site, right above!

    Michael Hastings researching Jill Kelley case before death

  7. Shimy
    When can you be practical? You always take unsubstantiated cases to justify your backwardness. What are you going to prove? You are comparing such isolated case which is just a speculation, with a culture of intolerance to stand with any view that differs then your view. No one claims the people on other side of hemisphere are gold, neither we claim we are right.
    Do you really think you are no different than those people who use logic and rationale before getting in to action? Don’t you really know 100% of your population are dimwit crazy ignorant who always think the way they see things are the only truth., and can go to any extent to defend their views. Don’t you know you guys are hysterical xenophobics; your own insecurity is translated in to this xenophobia. When you see an image that can resemble a symbol of any other religion you lose your sanity and act like psychopaths, if someone ridicules your religion you act like if the earth is going to explode and will go on rampage. You are one example that there is no single person in your society who is different than ordinary people. You sound if you have some kind of ability to read, but obviously you also have same mental disorder like the rest of the people.

  8. Hey Shimy, I hear your paymaster was pretty upset with TVM and almost wanted to boycott it.

    I hope you guys attack Liza soon - see, our intel says she's very good at cutting people down to size and I'm genuinely interested in seeing how well she executes you government thugs. 😛

  9. @#f*ckadhaalath!


    WHAT a heart!

    ALL our hearts need to burn with sorrow and RAGE for ANYBODY who is threatened for speaking TRUTH!

    We are not human until our cheeks are scolded by tears of the FIRE of rage and sorrow for the oppressed! We need to care so FIERCELY that we start a bonfire of liberty with the heat of our LOVE!


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