The Maldives Broadcasting Commission (MBC) has revealed that it has received further complaints regarding DhiTV’s airing of uspide down pictures – which it has argued violates broadcasting practices.
The new complaint – submitted on April 5 – concerned a picture of the newly elected Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) MP-elect Ahmed Nashid.
A statement on the commission’s website said that the complaint alleges that DhiTV broadcast the picture of Nashid – also the owner of ADK hospital – upside down as well as accusing him of being a thief.
MBC said that the pictures of Nashid were broadcast before more recent instructions to refrain from airing such images of leading politicians and civil servants.
On April 17, DhiTV aired pictures of MBC Chair Mohamed Shaheeb following the commission’s warning that strict measures would be taken against the station for airing similar pictures of other prominent figures.
The offending photo of MBC’s Shaheeb on DhiFM’s visual radio channel – also aired on DhiTV during its downtime – was accompanied by a news sticker that read, ‘Experts say that making such a harsh announcement while [we] have been apologising in compliance with the Broadcasting Commission’s instructions is a step backwards for democracy’.
Speaking to the press at the time, Shaheeb said that the commission had not decided what action it would take against DhiFM Plus, noting that the commission did not have the authority to withhold the broadcasting license of any TV station despite being the institution empowered to issue such licenses.
On March 24, 2014, MBC asked private media outlet DhiFM Plus to issue a public apology for broadcasting the upside down picture of former Elections Commissioner President Fuwad Thowfeek.
In a statement issued at the time, the commission noted that the act was in violation of the broadcasting code of practice and that it had violated the honour of Thowfeek
On February 12, 2014, the MBC advised private TV station DhiTV and its sister company, the radio station DhiFM Plus, to stop using the upside down images then Elections Commissioner Fuwad Thowfeek.
MBC had given similar advice to the two stations in November last year after they had shown upside down photos of three members of the Elections Commission – Thowfeek, Ahmed Fayaz, and Ali Mohamed Manik – with a caption alleging that they had committed electoral fraud in the annulled September 7 presidential election.