Maldives makes “solid gains” in press freedom: Reporters Without Borders

  • The Maldives has made “solid gains” towards press freedom according to the Reporters Without Borders 2010 Press Freedom Index, although its ranking has slipped from 51 to 52.

    “As a rule, the authorities have been respectful of press freedoms, exemplified by their decriminalisation of press offences in the Maldives,” the report stated.

    The ranking places the Maldives at the top of the South Asian countries for press freedom, and among the most free in Asia behind Taiwan, South Korea and Hong Kong.

    The Maldives was ranked 129 in 2007, jumping to 104 in 2008 and 51 in 2009 following the election of President Mohamed Nasheed.

    France, the home of RWB (Reporters Sans Frontières) ranked 44, while regionally, India (122), Bangladesh (126) and Sri Lanka (158) were ranked far below the Maldives.

    “Less violence was noted [in Sri Lanka], yet the media’s ability to challenge the authorities has tended to weaken with the exile of dozens of journalists,” the RWB report stated.

    Scandinavian countries including Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden were ranked first, while Turkmenistan, North Korea and Eritrea were ranked last.

    The RWB report was damning of Asia-Pacific’s overall performance, particularly across communist and military regimes, while democratic countries such as Japan (11) and Australia (18) fared far better. However “Malaysia (141), Singapore (136) and East Timor (93) are down this year.”

    “In Afghanistan (147th) and in Pakistan (151st), Islamist groups bear much of the responsibility
    for their country’s pitifully low ranking. Suicide bombings and abductions make working as a journalist an increasingly dangerous occupation in this area of South Asia,” the report noted.

    “In short, repression has not diminished in ASEAN countries, despite the recent adoption of a human rights charter.”

    The RWB report focuses on state repression of the media and threat to the safety of journalists, and not the condition of a country’s media industry itself.

    Visiting journalism trainer Tiare Rath, Iraq Editorial Manager for the Institute of War and Peace Reporting (IWPR) recently identified that political partisanship among senior editorial leadership in the Maldives was obstructing the development of a free and independent media – often despite the good intentions of rank-and-file journalists.

  • “I have been really impressed with news judgement here, and the understanding of the basic principles of journalism,” Rath said of her experience training young reporters in the Maldives.

    “But on the other hand, one of the major issues all my students talked about is resistance among newsroom leadership – editors and publishers. Even if the journalists support and understand the principles being taught, they consistently tell me they cannot apply them,” she said.

    “This is a very, very serious problem that needs to be addressed.”


    11 thoughts on “Maldives makes “solid gains” in press freedom: Reporters Without Borders”

    1. Obviously they have not studied the president's grip on the only public media which has been deteriorating by the day. The editorial is totally controlled and stage managed from the President's Office.

    2. I support "Civil"'s comment. Moreover, there was a huge anti-government protest last night on the streets of Male'. Police used tear gas and baton charged the crowd injuring dozens which resulted in someone losing one of his teeth. Riot police officers unacceptable actions resulted in bloodshed proven at the Majlis chamber. Given all that, today's headline news on the so called "" (Minivan News (‘minivan’ means ‘independent’ in Dhivehi) is about a report from Reporters without Borders saying Maldivians have gained high scores in press freedom. I am not judgmental, but I guess, "press freedom" is pretty "visible" on your news blog too.

      Hope Mr. JJ Robinson would publish this comment, without editing.

    3. "Solid gains" - buhahahaha! Even our phone calls are listened to and made public by President Nasheed's government.

    4. In a political sense it is correct. Maldivians feel free to publically denigrate their political leaders on the press in ways which would surprise the most liberal thinker.

      But if a Maldivian says he is not a Muslim online, or says something "perceived" to be against Islam, he either does it anonomysously or is jailed

      So in this sense, no press freedom.

      There is a connection between religious repression and the venom Maldivians have for their politicians because, the search for meaning is the essence of a person. If a person has an externally imposed identity so that it squashes his/her search for personal meaning, individual meaning and identity (essence), the frustration and anger caused by the repression of this instinct for a search for personal meaning comes out in other ways.

      Whats more, it is not even recognized by most that this is the cause of the tension because the thought of defying Islam is such a fear, it would cause nothing but stress and social alienation. Therefore, we see this deep yielding to Islam which is never even perceived as the cause of the stress.

      When a Maldivian fights for Islam, though they believe they are fighting for Allah, they are fighting for their own social and emotional security. This is because, our perception of Allah is really a kind of a reversed anthromorphic projection of the collective conscioussness or else our own will to power in social relationship or individual. Seems Maldives is such a tight knit society people would be in pain to be shunned by their loved ones or community, so the collective conscioussness is extremely powerful as a motivating factor!

      It is then thrust on Maldivians that the Christian, the Portugese as the example in Maldives, are the enemy, so they are sometimes blinded to the fact that the repression of their own freedom is the enemy.

      Many Maldivians are terrified to be thought of as a non-Muslim or to be associated with a Maldivian who confesses he is not a Muslim.

      Mohammed Nazim's comment is the deepest truth I heard. He said something to the effect that Maldivians are dying inside or being crushed or something like that because they feel it difficult to question the religion (something to that effect I have to look up the comment to get the wording precise...)

    5. Maldives is heading to a dictatorship rule.President Nasheed tries his best to portray himself as a freedom lover. But what we see on the ground is opposite. MNBC style of broadcasting would be our future journalism.Sandhaanu Magazine, Minivan News,Raaje Radio would survive. Others will perish sooner or later. When the government gets Parliament majority, the whole picture would change. A New Maldives would be born then with a new era of dictators.

    6. Outside Muliaage late last night ... MP Nihaan was screaming at the top of his voice thru a speaker Ganjaa Boaaa addressing to the President of the Maldives. Thats how progressed we are .....

    7. @Rationale - the guy who taught us this low life behaviour is our President now. So I'm not surprised that Nihan is following his footsteps. Thank god there is someone who is dishing out the same medicine to President Nasheed. I wont be surprised if Nihan is our next President.

    8. Media may be free but people's life is worse than ever in the history of Maldives now. Every where there is wide spread of corruption and nepotism. Public service is deteriorating cost of living is at sky high. What we have gained with free media nothing.


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