The Maldives Broadcasting Commission (MBC) has asked private TV station DhiTV to respond to a case file by the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) alleging that the TV station had misled the public.
Speaking to Minivan News today, ACC President Hassan Luthfee said that the commission had filed the case with MBC after DhiTV had irresponsibly criticised the commission.
“It is alright to criticise me, but the Anti-Corruption Commission is a state institution and everyone must respect all the state institutions,’’ he said. “We accept criticism but it also has to be done professionally.’’
Luthfee said he does not remember the exact quotes broadcast on DhiTV.
“We normally do not give any information about cases before the investigation is concluded and I do not know how the media knew that we filed a case with the MBC,’’ he said.
Furthermore, Luthfee said that everyone must work together to correct issues with the state institutions, and that criticism alone could not solve any issue.
Online newspaper Sun reported that the MBC had sent a letter to DhiTV asking it to respond to the allegations by March 13.
Sun reported that the ACC had filed the case with MBC claiming that on January 20, 2014, DhiTV aired a TV program called ‘Talk of the town’ in which the TV station had broadcast content that was disrespectful of the corruption watchdog.
According to Sun, MBC told DhiTV that the station was alleged to have violated the MBC Code of Practice Article (3)(1), though it had not yet concluded its investigations.
Last month, MBC asked DhiTV and its sister company – the radio station DhiFM Plus – to stop using upside down images of Elections Commission (EC) President Fuwad Thowfeek.
MBC President Mohamed Shaheeb sent a letter to the two stations advising them not to broadcast anything in a way that might encourage unrest, and to keep in mind that the parliament elections were ahead.
MBC gave similar advice to the two stations in November after they had shown photos of three members of the EC – Thowfeek, Ahmed Fayaz, and Ali Mohamed Manik – upside down with a caption alleging that they had committed electoral fraud in the annulled September 7 presidential election.
Following the incident, MBC sent a circular to all broadcasters noting that complaints regarding the disrespectful use of photos had led to it taking action against media outlets for violating the broadcasting code.
In January this year MBC ordered both the Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) aligned Raajje TV and the Jumhooree Party-aligned VTV to issue apologies for content broadcast during the prolonged presidential election.
While Raajje TV was found to have aired content defamatory to the Supreme Court, VTV was asked to issue an apology for material defaming the MDP’s presidential candidate Mohamed Nasheed, as well as MP Rozaina Adam, and EC President Thowfeek.
Broadcasting any image or video footage that disrespects the honor or sanctity of a person or a group of persons is in violation of MBC’s Code of Practice.
The broadcasting commission is a 7-member body entrusted with implementation of broadcasting policy, regulation of broadcasting industry, and the promotion of responsible broadcasting, was formed in 2010 under the Broadcasting Act.