The Maldives Police Service has issued a statement following allegations made by the Maldives Media Council (MMC) that police used excessive force on journalists while they were covering the opposition-led protest in October 2010.
”On October 25, the behavior of the journalists covering the riot was different from how they have behaved during other riots, and they were definitely behaving in a way that that obstructed police from carrying out their duties,” said police in a statement.
”The Maldives Police Service hopes that the MMC, as the lawful body [overseeing] the media, will research the degraded actions of a few journalists who were active in the area and will work with them to correct their behaviour.”
The MMC has acknowledged that the behaviour of some journalists covering the riot “lacked discipline and professionalism”.
Police said they respected the media and believed that it was “very necessary in a modern democracy.”
”Police have worked very hard to establish easy ways for the media to gain information they need in matters related to police work,” police said.
The police recommended that the MMC avoid repeated incidents by researching how the media works in other democratic countries when covering riots and dangerous situations.
Several journalists from different media organisations have alleged that police attacked journalists covering the opposition Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party (DRP)-led protest.
Three journalists from DhiTV, two journalists from VillaTV and one from Miadhu reported that they were attacked by police.
The two journalists from VillaTV were also arrested, handcuffed, and released the same evening.
Following the incident, police claimed that the behaviour of some journalists resembled that of “opposition activists”.
‘’Some journalists opposed police orders and refused to stay in the security zone,” Shiyam said at the time. “It would have gone smoothly if they had worked according to orders given.’’
He said that police some journalists who opposed police orders were moved forcefully.