Sun apologises for brothel articles, while police summon editor for questioning

Local radio station and online newspaper ”Sun” today apologised to the public, after the Maldives Media Council (MMC)’s head Mohamed Nazeef yesterday sent a letter addressed to Sun Editors Ahmed ‘Hiriga’ Zahir and Shinan Ali requesting they do so.

The apology followed the publication of a series of stories in which journalists wrote detailed and lurid accounts of their visit to an illegal massage parlour, and solicited sex from the women.

‘Sun’ issued a press release today stating that it believed the articles were “not written professionally” and that the news organisation assured that it would maintain professionalism in its future writings.

Ali told Minivan News he was “really proud” of the journalists involved and what they had reported.

“As the Maldives Journalists Association (MJA) has said, this kind of reporting is new to the community and we need to get used to it,” Ali said.

In its press release, Sun said that the objective of the investigation into illegal prostitution conducted in the Maldives was to draw the attention of the concerned authorities and the public over the issue.

Sun also expressed concern that if no measures were taken, prostitution would become widespread as with the drugs that circulated in the Maldives in 1970s.

The MMC has forwarded the case to the Prosecutor General, and Zahir was today summoned to police headquarters for questioning.

Police Sub-Inspector Ahmed Shiyam said  Hiriga was questioned about the articles Sun published regarding illegal prostitution conducted inside some salons and massage centers in Male’.

”Others concerned persons were also summoned,” Shiyam said, declining to disclose further information.

The MMC has claimed that the context and phrasing of the articles published on Sun Online contained phrasing suggesting that the journalists may have engaged in ‘sinful’ activities, and were written in such a way as to encourage these activities.

The MMC claimed the articles violated its media code of ethics, including Article 1 which states that no media should publish anything against the constitution or Islam, and article 9 which stipulates that media should not publish pornography, sex stories, stories that encourage sex or anything that describes such activities.

The articles are now ranked ‘most read’ on Sun Online’s website.


13 thoughts on “Sun apologises for brothel articles, while police summon editor for questioning”

  1. "Ali told Minivan News he was “really proud” of the journalists involved and what they had reported."

    Is he "really proud" that they committed acts of fornication? Seems like he's endorsing everything they did. They did nothing to make anyone proud. Sure enough, exposing these joints is a good contribution to society, but that's not really what they did!

    I really don't understand, the relevance of describing the "kaafaru kuruvaa" smells inside a brothel has to do with exposing them! Neither do I understand why gory details of how these journalists spent intimate moments on a bed with a prostitute with her head on his chest has much to do with either journalism or reporting.

  2. Ahmed 'Hiriga' Zahir is the founder and the President of Maldives Journalist Association.

    He is also the online editor of Sun online on which the articles were published.

    MJA's board also include 3 other journalists who work in Sun FM/Sun Online.

    So Hiriga, the defendent was acting as the Judge when MJA published a press statement.

    Hiriga should resign from MJA. I hope the members of MJA pressure him to do so. He is not a professional journalist nor does he understand what journalism is. The articles and the press statement by MJA is evidence to that.

    I hope the ICJ looks carefully into this matter, takes this into consideration and know who they are dealing with in Maldives.

  3. In my view, the artiacles were not written in the context of investigative reporting. However, the reports published claimed the existance or availability of a service considered illegal, in Maldives. I am interested to know what action is being taken by the responsible authorities to validate these claims and apprehend the people who do provide these services!

  4. The issue is not Sun....why dont some one just close those goddamned brothels...why police is investigating sun ..all the while people are visiting these brothels, soon enough it will be like drugs..poor kids from islands will be brought to these brothels...close the brothels..or make them legal with full rights for prostitutes and customers...where is Adhaalath when you need em???

  5. Strange....

    The usually religiously liberal Minivan seems to be devoid of comments attacking the MMC for using religion as a weapon to silence journalism which, in my personal view, highlight an issue which is much more important than the method in which it was highlighted.

    Ah well. Guess this is the quality of democratic awareness in this country. The interesting thing is, the average person feels such a strong affiliation to their own political bias that they would forgo the normal requirements actual economic benefit or social mobility just to support the causes championed by their party. The perception of benefit and gifts of cash and "tea" suffice.

  6. Think positive here. Maldivian's are slowly awakening from the blissful ignorance.

    “Give a man a fish; you have fed him for today.  Teach a man to fish; and you have fed him for a lifetime. Introduce him religion; and he would pray & dies of hunger."

    The young generation do not believe in religion. They might make a big scene for entertainment out of atheists, but that's for name sake only.

    It might take a good 10 years, before they come out of the closet on religious views. So are just afraid to express their views. And rightly so. Not from high above, but from psychotic mad religious brothers.

  7. Those who need to be targetted are the ones running these joints, i.e. the ones who are pocketting the money from this. I'm willing to make a huge bet that there are a few very powerful individuals ultimately running them.

    If I were the Police team investigating this, I'd let this run for a while. If the Police go on knocking on these doors, chances are very slim they'll find much. These guys will have gone underground right now, with all the publicity around.

    The Police will be wise to monitor the flow of funds from these joints and track the big guys behind them. Just like narcotics, these are not run by small time criminals, but by big organised Dons.

  8. Is the issue unprofessional investigative journalism or immoral/illegal activities done by people who happen to be journalists? I think thats the scope here.

    I dont like the word "sinful" appearing in the text, it makes this is a religious issue. Why is stabbing people not characterized as "sinful" and "Haraam" but adultery and fornication are?

  9. How come no one is worried about the status of the most important place in Male', "The Fish Market".

    I am sure atleast one person from every house hold visit it every day, our high market guests are taken on tour to show that place and I am absolutly sure that all Journalist pass it more than twice a day, why no one comments or no newspaper articles on its cleanliness and the disgusting smell of that place is over whelming. Its down right filthy. Its a damn health hazad, I am sure "Thilafushi" is much more hiygenic than this dump.

    What on earth are these elected city councillars doing. Why don't you clean the Fish Market instead of introducing trains and buses to Male'.

    why can't "HIRIGA" do some solid investigative article on that place. Journalists don't have to disguise as fishermen to investigate it, just walk in and you want miss it, Our most important food is bought from there and that place is filthy.

    Health minister wake up take a walk by near the Fish Market.

  10. The issue here is very simple. Hiriga trying to become a media hero using a religious moral card and getting his staff to do 2 things:

    1. engage in an illegal act
    2. Telling the story with all the gory details that is as good as porn.

    And Hiriga now justifying his actions as investigative journalism and any action by the authorities against him as a threat to Media Freedom.

    As if Hiriga is synonymous to Media Freedom!

  11. After reading the articles on Sun, I went to 3 different massage Parlours in 2 days. On all three occasions I paid at the reception for a full body massage and was led to the small massage room by one of the girls. She asked me to change into shorts and gave me a towel. when i hung my clothes she asked me to lie face down. she poured some warm oils on my back and gave me a wonderful back massage. when i mentioned about some pain on my right ankel she took special care for the spot and i felt a lot releived at the end. It was a very relaxing massage, and the soft spa music made me sleepy. At the end I gave her Mrf. 50/ tip and walked away happily. Unfortunately i did not ask her if she will do for me anything more than the massage, and neither did she suggest any. May be i was not as clever as the Sun reporters. Or at least not as "Hayaaiy kuda" as the reporters to have provoked the poor girl. May be Hirigaa and Sinan can advise me on how to provocate a massage therapist.

  12. When you mentioned "illegal" prostitution this gives a second meaning / a question arises that IS THERE something allowed "legal prostitution" here

  13. Rationale

    I was told that full body massage is NOT allowed in Male' and spas banned in Male'. I have also been told that Traders hotel was not given permission to have a spa in their hotel.

    So how did you have this full body massage in Male?

    I think you should report this matter to Ministry of health because it is not fair to those observing and abiding by regulations.


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