Police ‘cut off’ support and protection to Raajje TV over broadcasting of “false” CCTV

The Maldives Police Service (MPS) has announced that it has stopped cooperating with local TV station Raajje TV, claiming that the opposition-aligned TV station was broadcasting false and slanderous content about the police which had undermined their credibility and public confidence.

In a press statement released today, MPS stated that the decision was reached after the station had “deliberately and continuously broadcast false and baseless content with the intention to incite hatred” towards the institution.

“Also, Raajje TV’s broadcasting of false and baseless content about the police institution is seen to be carried out for the political benefit of certain parties and such actions neither fit in with the norms of professional journalism or the principles followed by media outlets of other democratic countries,” read the statement.

Speaking to Minivan News, a reporter from Raajje TV said that prior to the decision police had already indicated yesterday that they were not willing to cooperate with the Raajje TV reporters.

The reporter said that the station had tried to cover the arrival of the body of murdered police officer lance corporal Adam Haleem to Male, however had pushed the reporters back and told them “it was not a wise thing to come there.”

“A police official came over to us and said that it was not a wise thing to come there. The person said that the police officers were in a very ‘hyper’ mood and that anything could happen at such time,” said the reporter.

“They told us that if something ‘bad’ happened there, the police would not be able to protect us. Then another officer came and said to the officer who spoke to us, to check if we had press cards and to move those who did not have press cards out of the area,” he added.

“Caught on video”

The decision from the police comes just a day after Raajje TV broadcasted CCTV video footage of some police officers, who the station alleged were “caught on video” while they were stealing petrol from a motorbike parked in a small road in Male’.

However police denied the allegations and condemned Raajje TV for spreading “false and untrue” information about them.

Superintendent of Police Abdulla Navaz in a press briefing stated that the video footage was showing the police carrying out their legal duty.

Raajje TV had twisted the details and information in their news report, which Navaz said showed police confiscating a five litre container of petrol from the road.

He also stated that the container was confiscated after police on patrol duty noticed that someone had connected a pipe to steal petrol from a parked motorbike in the road.

“It was decided that we would find the owner of the motor bike and hand over the things that were confiscated. The petrol container is also kept under police observation as evidence,” he said.

Navaz showed the media documents filed during the confiscation.

In the press briefing he expressed concerns over Raajje TV’s “irresponsible” actions and said that the police would file complaints with concerned authorities.

Demand for apology

Following the broadcast of the video, Maldives Broadcasting Commission (MBC) sent a letter to the TV station stating that it had broadcasted the content without checking its authenticity and were therefore ordered to apologise for their actions.

MBC in the letter stated that following the broadcasting of the video police had denied the allegation and released details of the incident, but said the station had failed to inform the public of their erroneous content.

“Therefore, news that was broadcast from July 22 onwards, alleging that the police had stolen petrol from a motorbike is untrue. This commission orders the station to broadcast a statement apologising for the publication, for three consecutive nights starting from July 24, after every news hour,” read the letter.

MBC also issued a warning in the letter stating that if the commission noticed any further violations of the broadcasting laws and regulations, they would take action against the station under the article 49(c) of the Broadcasting Act.

MBC also stated that the station had repeatedly violated the broadcasting laws, regulations and ethics code, during its coverage of the ongoing Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) protests.

The commission stated that because of the coverage, it had given rise to possible political instability and chaos in the society, and said the commission had received “several complaints about it”.

MBC in the letter highlighted that it had sent written advice to the station on July 12, and had met with the management of the station on July 17 and had advised it to broadcast content within legal boundaries.

Deputy CEO of RaajjeTV, Abdulla Yaamin, told local media that the station had no intention of undermining the reputation of the police.

He also stated that the station had broadcast the entire recording of the police press briefing held to deny the allegations, giving them the opportunity to defend themselves from the allegations.

He also stated that police were very unresponsive to the queries of reporters from the station.

“They don’t give a proper response when we call to get a comment for a news piece. Even today, when our reporters went to cover the events where the murdered police officer was brought in Male, they sent us away saying that they cannot give us protection,” he said.

He also said the station would decide how to proceed after seeking legal counsel.

Speaking to Minivan News, Yamin confirmed the incident took place and said that the station would release a statement.

Raajje TV is one of the five private broadcasters of the country and is the only opposition-aligned TV station the country. The TV station has come under pressure and criticism from the government and political parties aligned to government for its opposition coverage.

Most recently, the station aired footage of police apparently pepper-spraying former President Mohamed Nasheed during a protest rally on July 14, after police had issued a statement denying that the incident had occurred.

Earlier in May, Yamin accused the security forces of “physical and psychological intimidation” to the reporters of the station during a by deposed President Mohamed Nasheed to mark International Press Freedom Day.

He said the station had operated with freedom and “without any fear” before the change of power on February 7.

Since the transfer of power Raajje TV reporters have experienced physical attacks and have been threatened by security forces, Yamin said. Further, he said ministers of the current administration had refused to engage with the station.

“I have no certainty I can safely go home after saying this here,” Yamin said at the time.

The TV station first went on air as “Future TV” in 2008, but started broadcasting as “Raajje TV” in 2011. Its audience increased dramatically following the takeover of the state broadcaster by the police and military on February 7.


15 thoughts on “Police ‘cut off’ support and protection to Raajje TV over broadcasting of “false” CCTV”

  1. Not unexpected from a militia which masquerades as a police force. To call them police in their current state would be an insult to millions of police officers serving their constituents without prejudice.

    A professional force would not be deterred in their duties even when faced with unjust treatment.

  2. Police is also human..these guys were steeling petrol when they went to school so how can they stop their hobby? Abulla R supports what they do to create fear among the people...steeling surly will creates fear of the police now.keep up the good work POLICE.

  3. Why is "caught stealing petrol" in quotation marks?

    Also, can you please clarify what 'no cooperation' means? Will they stop inviting them to press conferences OR will they stop providing security to Raaje TV staff/premises etc? Thanks.

  4. I raise the same questions as @Nazim, i.e. what does "no cooperation" involve? If that involves refusing to provide police protection and security that would violate every single piece of legislation in the country.

    A professional police force can and should be able to handle criticism and remain impartial. No one can demand respect for themselves; it's an aspect that's earned by setting exemplary standards.

    Attempting to shut-up the media is also the wrong approach. After all, in a free society, media is supposed to represent the disparate voices of the people. The media watch dog has specific responsibility to police the media, i.e. it's not the job of the Police to tell the media what they can and cannot do!

    We have just muddled up the whole "democracy thing"!

  5. Freedom of expression going too far. It is reported that Nasheed and his gang is inciting violence against police.

  6. Police have no right to cut off it's duties towards any body living and working in Maldives. Police should defend themselves when they are alleged to have violated the laws of the land instead threatening and inciting violence towards those who point a finger at them. If now anything to happen to the station or it's employers the International community will be amply convinced who are responsible.

  7. When during the 21 days of protest by the then opposition there were so many allegations against then Police under Mr. Faseeh. They even went to the extent of claiming that the Police was using chemical spray to paralize them. Was there any declaration that the Police was cutting off it's support and protection to those TV stations? Why does this Police Service is behaving as if every one in it's department are 100% honest and dutyful? How is it possible? In this present climate after 30 tears of developing love and crave for material goodies instead of spiritual feelings how can we expect every member of the Police or MNDF to be honest 100% ?. If so would we have Police and MNDF members mutinying against a Government that was elected by the majority of the people? Why this kolaveri kolaveri dee?

  8. So there is no internal investigation anymore? What happened to PIC etc?

  9. Soon the police will announce they will only provide protection to resorts owned by allies of Gayoom. There will be a boom in employment of private security guards by businesses as it seems confidence in the police is at its nadir.

  10. Maldivian (Banana) police force is trying to intimidate the free media and oppress our freedom of speech.

    Hey police it is your BAGHEEE Riyaz who said he will make the public threatened by the police force.

    now it is the season 2 - to threaten the free media and freedom of speech.

  11. kekeke, Rajje bodu dhogu tv deserves this!

    and anyways raa tv shouldn't be complaining because they themselves claim that the whole police force is unprofessional
    they also claim that the police is full of baghees so why do they want protection from the baghees.
    leave it to the gamaaru party and its channel to rationalize things. kekeke

  12. Shimy you really need to get a proper life. When have you ever seen the Maldivian police being professional ? They are not !! They are like bull dogs out of cages. They do not have a sense of humour to treat other in a decent manner. They are the most unprofessional police ever made in a country !! most of them from small islands who were brought up beaten up everyday by there parents and they don't know anything else than beating up others just like they were beaten up by their parents during there childhood. They (the police) act more like animals !!

  13. LOL, you need to consider other things in life except seyku Nasheed like believing in God,

    gosh, what do you believe in is a big question????? Guess your god is Anni now!

    and i left you a comment the other day! have a look

  14. and LOL,
    let me refresh your mind

    your precious Anni had time to meet and chat a bunch of hooligans playing the Baibalaa in 2011 but he refused to meet the poor old parents from Arabiyya.

    even the police was also against giving permission to play as the thugs were creating havoc after each match. gangs were among the baibalaa teams.

    instead of dismissing these thugs, anni ordered the police to disperse the crowd from Arabiyya violently so who are we calling professional and peace loving????

    PS; BTW i hate and detest Nasheed because he chose the path of hate and revenge to counter a problem, which he knew will come in the later stages of his presidency.

    He is no champion of democracy and no peace loving Muslim(although he wants to show the blind MDpians that he is one!!?? why can't he just tell everyone that he does not believe in Islam instead of politicizing religion????)


Comments are closed.