Parliament cuts off live feed to DhiFM, summons journalists

A parliament decision to cut a live feed to private radio station DhiFM and summon some of its journalists before its general affairs committee tomorrow over allegations of contempt during a live broadcast has been roundly condemned by the Maldives Journalist Association (MJA).

”We believe that the media has the authority to report the dialogue of MPs, broadcast what is going on inside the parliament as well as the authority to criticise,” read a press release by the MJA. ”It is a right guaranteed by the constitution and we call on the parliament not to violate that right.”

The MJA notes that the parliament’s action to last week cut the feed – reportedly in response to “disrespect” exhibited to some MPs by DhiFM presenters – was both unwarranted and disproportionate, adding that parliament should have recourse to other means than unilaterally terminating the live coverage of parliament sittings.

”This association does not believe that a responsible institution of the state would have to stop sending live feed to a media outlet in order to complain about its reporting,” reads the MJA statement. ”It is also questionable whether the live feed was stopped after investigating the matter.”

The press association warned that such actions could undermine press freedom by silencing the media.

However, the MJA also called on local media to be responsible in their duties as well as appealing for MPs to ensure the freedoms guaranteed by the constitution are practiced to their full extent.

Parliament Secretary-General Ahmed Mohamed is currently abroad and was unavailable for comment.

CEO of DhiFM, Masoodh Hilmy confirmed that the parliamentary committee sent two letters to the radio station requesting a recording of its ”Breakfast Club” programme last week and summoning the two DhiFM journalists who presented the programme in front of a committee tomorrow.

”We have not yet decided whether we will send the two journalists, because currently we are seeking legal advice to determine whether legally we are obliged to attend parliament if requested,” said Masood. ”We will abide by all laws, and we do not believe that we violated the privileges of MPs.”

Masood characterised the action taken by the parliament as a challenge to the freedom of press.

”It is a step backwards in terms of democracy, I think its the first time in history the parliament has summoned journalists,” he said, adding that the incident was “regrettable”.

Masood added that while DhiFM has not officially been informed that the live feed had been disconnected, “our technical department says that we haven’t been receiving signals from the parliament.”

The MJA’s criticism comes just a month after it spoke out along with other media figures like the editor of Haveeru to criticise police in requesting to speak with some of the paper’s journalists concerning the identity of sources on which it based a report.

The story focused on an alleged blackmail ring that reportedly obtained pornographic images of some high-profile national figures through the internet, which has been the basis of an ongoing police investigation.  Haveeru said at the time that its staff declined to reveal the identities of its sources.


9 thoughts on “Parliament cuts off live feed to DhiFM, summons journalists”

  1. I had to laugh. The animals in the Zoo, erm, I meant members of our Parliament have finally lost it completely.

    Of course, they can do whatever they like. Who is going to stop them? After all, they are the law makers and no law can touch them. Who is going to make them accountable? No one can.

    This is a clearl message from the parliametarians saying, "Don't mess with us!".

  2. This is the freedom of speech Anni has given to us. UK high commissioner said in a meeting with UK officials that Anni has brought to Maldives freedom of speech which never existed before in the country. If the journalists in this country cannot freely and failry report an event, then who else in this country will have the freedom of speech? The MDP coming to power was a great mistake. They know nothing about running a country and the party is full of hot blooded mafia style people.

  3. Those MP's want to be little Maumoons.

    We shall demonstrate to them that trying to emulate the deposed dictator is a fatal mistake.

  4. @Ibrahim Yasir,
    Are you day-dreaming? Rather, have you been day-dreaming for the last 7 years? Do you know that Moyamoon put our citizens into solitary confinement for reading the online news megazine "sandhaanuonline"? Now, you can call Anni Ganjaaboa and not loose your job. Yet, I know, at least 5 persons who lost their jobs for calling "GOLHAABOA" to Maumoon.
    Man! If you can't say anything true, go take your medication, have some water and get some duct tape to put over your mouth and nose...

  5. IN most civilised societies there is a higher level of control over who makes and then sets laws in place. With the lack of a 'higher' house we have given far too much power to these so called MP's, most of them are ignorant bullies who swept in on a 'buy your seat' wave of stupidity, directly attributable to the ignorance of the majority of voters.

    We must take more care when voting people, look what we have ended up with!

    But can we surely accept this form of mafia once every five years, how corrupt do they have to get before we shout enough is enough?

    Start behaving like the upstanding members that we need to run our country or you will be asked then forced to leave. For goodness sake start showing us, they people who elected you some respect before we change our minds.

  6. ibrahim yasir seems like such a sad misguided little soul.

    also. stupid.


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