Police send summons to Raajje TV News Head and CEO

Police have sent a summons to Maldivian Democratic Party aligned private broadcasting channel Raajje TV News Department Head Ibrahim ‘Asward’ Waheed and CEO Yamin Rasheed.

The summons chit did not specify why he was being summoned but stated it was in relation to a case being investigated by the police’s Serious and Organized Crime Department.

Speaking to Minivan News today Asward said that the police have not told him or Raajje TV why he was being summoned but have told other media outlets that the matter is related to a report he made for  Raajje TV concerning the Supreme Court and some issues with the judiciary.

”I asked the officers who handed me the summon chit,” he said. ”But they said they don’t know what’s it about.”

He said he will comment on the issue after going to police tonight.

Station CEO Yamin has also been summoned to police, saying the investigation surrounded a “normal report” broadcast on October 19 concerning the independence of the court, as well as issues surrounding Justice Ali Hameed.

Hameed – currently being investigated for his alleged role in a string of sex-tapes – has borne the brunt of attacks on the court following its annulment of the first round of the presidential elections this month.

Meanwhile, the Maldives Broadcasting Commission – mandated to oversee the media – yesterday expressed concern over a warrant issued by the Supreme Court ordering that the police investigate Raajje TV regarding the report.

Yamin today said that the commission had requested that the court rescind the order. He said that the police’s investigation of the report violated the Broadcasting Act, describing it as “unfair”.

Head of the commission Mohamed Shaheeb told local media last night that there was no use of keeping the commission if someone else was doing the its duties.

He said that anything related to the media should be investigated by the commission and not by anyone else.

Previously Shaheeb said that he talked to police commissioner Abdulla Riyaz regarding the case and that Riyaz told the commission it was an order issued by the Supreme Court and that there was nothing police could do about it.

In February this year, Raajje TV News Head Asward was attacked with an iron bar while riding on a motorcycle near the  artificial beach area on Boduthakurufaanu Magu, the biggest street in Male’.

He barely survived the injuries and still is yet to fully recover.

Raajje TV’s offices were also sabotaged in 2012, with cables being cut in the station’s control room.

On October 7, five masked men entered Raajje TV station and set the place on fire burning the whole control room of the station to ashes.

The role of police on the night of the attack was criticised by both Raajje TV, who had given police notice that such an attack had been threatened, and Reporters Without Borders (RSF).

“We deplore the attitude of the police, who failed to do what was necessary to prevent the attack although the head of TV station requested protection a few hours before it took place,” RSF said in a statement on Monday.