State broadcaster disciplines editor after court ‘abduction’

The state broadcaster has taken disciplinary action against a well-known news editor who accused the criminal court of “abduction” last month during the trial of ex-president Mohamed Nasheed.

The Maldives Broadcasting Corporation (MBC) on March 15 transferred Mohamed Afsal from covering trials and legal affairs to working on the website, according to Haveeru.

Afsal had previously presented the “Raajje Miadhu” programme on Television Maldives and hosted special programmes.

The local daily reported that the transfer was prompted by the incident at court on the night former President Mohamed Nasheed was convicted.

On March 13, trial observers and journalists were held for nearly two hours inside the building after the initial hearing, as judges deliberated on a verdict. They were not allowed to use their phones or communicate with reporters gathered outside.

Afsal asked to be allowed to leave, as did Misbah Abbas from CNM and Muizz Ibrahim from Avas, but court officials refused to allow the three outside or inside the courtroom for the verdict. The three were held in the waiting area until the verdict was delivered.

The journalists accused the criminal court of kidnapping and terrorism and filed a complaint with police and the Human Rights Commission.

However, police dismissed the case, saying they had no jurisdiction to investigate it.

The Maldivian Democratic Party condemned the state broadcaster’s move today, characterising it as an attack on press freedom.


State broadcaster slams “irresponsible” broadcasting commission report on election coverage

The Maldives Broadcasting Corporation (MBC) has heavily criticised a report by the Broadcasting Commission on television prime time coverage of last year’s presidential election campaign, calling on the broadcasting regulator to revise “misleading” elements of the report.

In a four-page press release slamming the “irresponsible” report, the state broadcaster contended that the findings were presented in a way that could cause “loss of public confidence” in the television and radio channels operated by MBC.

The report was based on monitoring of prime time (8pm to 11pm) content as well as direct access time on all television stations in the month leading up to the first round of the presidential election on September 7, 2013.

“The monitoring of the electoral content of all the TV stations was carried out to observe the performances of the stations in order to measure the total coverage time allocated for presidential candidates, the ethical conduct of the content aired and the amount of electoral content during prime time and direct access,” the report explained.

According to the report, state broadcaster Television Maldives (TVM) allocated the highest percentage of airtime to the Elections Commission (20.6 percent), followed by the President/Government (20.4 percent), Gasim Ibrahim (18.24 percent), Abdulla Yameen (16.34 percent), and then-President Dr Mohamed Waheed Hassan Manik (14.68 percent).

Opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) presidential candidate, former President Mohamed Nasheed, received the lowest prime time coverage with 9.68 percent.

Similarly, in the last week of the presidential campaign, 12.24 percent of TVM’s coverage of Nasheed’s campaign was negative while other presidential candidates, Gasim Ibrahim and the incumbent Dr Waheed, received 100 percent positive coverage.

Candidate Yameen meanwhile received 5.41 negative coverage during the final week.


Defending its election coverage, MBC insisted in its press statement that TVM’s news was impartial, unbiased and adhered to principles of journalism.

The state broadcaster however conceded that some presidential candidates received “marginally” more coverage as they carried out more campaign activities, which was unavoidable based on “newsworthiness”.

MBC also explained that it was not practical to ensure that each candidate received equal amount of time during a news bulletin or news programme.

Instead, the state broadcaster sought to provide equal time overall during the presidential campaign period, the statement noted.

Highlighting a number of issues with the report, MBC objected to the broadcasting commission deciding to focus only on prime time coverage and limiting the review period to one month while the presidential election campaign continued on to a second round.

Moreover, MBC contended that the guidelines formulated to monitor election coverage could not be used to accurately determine bias or negative coverage.

The broadcasting commission considered the tone of coverage to determine if a subject was portrayed in a positive, neutral or negative light for a qualitative measurement.

MBC however contended that the perceived tone was dependent on a subjective judgment by the monitoring individual based on his or her political affiliation.

MBC questioned the objective of the broadcasting commission in issuing the report as a draft was not shared with broadcasters prior to publication.

The press release also questioned the quality of the work done in compiling the report, noting that members of the team of monitors were given a one-day training course.

According to the report, 11 staff members of the commission “functioned as monitors with a chief monitor who coordinated and supervised the monitoring work.”

“Each monitor was assigned a specific channel to monitor on a weekly rotation basis. To carry out the monitoring tasks professionally and impartially, the monitoring team was provided a one day training exercise where they had to complete mock monitoring forms after watching one hour prime time content,” the report explained.

MBC meanwhile noted that the Commonwealth, European Union and local NGO Transparency Maldives had praised the state broadcaster’s election coverage following their observation of the presidential election.

The press release concluded with assurances to the public that MBC would offer clarification on “misleading” issues after further examination of the report.


DhiFM Plus asked to publicly apologise for upside down pictures

The Maldives Broadcasting Commission (MBC) has asked private media outlet DhiFM Plus to issue a public apology for broadcasting an upside down picture of former Elections Commissioner President Fuwad Thowfeek.

In a statement (Dhivehi) on MBC’s website, the commission has noted that the act was in violation of the broadcasting code of practice and that it had violated the honour of Thowfeek.

MBC said that the commission had previously advised the TV station that content containing upside down pictures of persons were in violation to the broadcasting code of practice but that the TV station had failed to correct it.

The TV station was asked to issue a statement of apology before 26 March and to display the statement from 8pm to 10pm.

On February 12, 2014, the MBC asked private TV station DhiTV and its sister company, the radio station DhiFM Plus, to stop using upside down images of Elections Commission (EC) President Fuwad Thowfeek.

In a statement issued on the MBC website at the time, the commission asked the TV channel and the radio station – a pioneer of ‘visual radio’ in the Maldives – not to broadcast such content until the commission had concluded its investigation into the case.

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 EC – Thowfeek, Ahmed Fayaz, and Ali Mohamed Manik – with a caption alleging that they had committed electoral fraud in the annulled September 7 presidential election.

After questioning the Supreme Court’s actions following an investigation into the alleged fraud, both Fayaz and Thowfeek were dismissed from their positions by the court earlier this month.

Following the incident, MBC sent a circular to all broadcasters noting that complaints regarding the disrespectful use of photos had led to it taking action against media outlets for violating the broadcasting code.

CEO of DhiFM Masood Hilmy told newspaper Haveeru at the time that the photo of the EC president was displayed after the Supreme Court had sent summons to the EC, but it had been removed upon MBC’s request.

The broadcasting commission is a 7-member body entrusted with implementation of broadcasting policy, regulation of broadcasting industry, and the promotion of responsible broadcasting. It was formed in 2010 under the Broadcasting Act.


Maldives’ media in spotlight as election fallout continues

The rising trend of death threats being sent via telecommunications devices has prompted the Communication Authority of the Maldives (CAM) to request police investigate and take action against offenders.

CAM’s statement comes a day after ongoing death threats received by the Elections Commission (EC)’s permanent staff and polling station officials prompted the commission to file a report with the Maldives Police Service (MPS).

CAM highlighted that intimidating threats and death threats are criminal offences and the institution called on all Maldivians to refrain from using telecommunications devices to commit such criminal acts.

The government agency called on everyone receiving threats to report the incident(s) to police.

CAM also emphasized that offenders would have their telecommunications services terminated without further notice.

Media council “lost faith” in broadcasting commission

Meanwhile, the Maldives Media Council (MMC) will file a no-confidence motion against Maldives Broadcasting Commission (MBC) members via Parliament’s Independent Institutions Committee, reported local media.

MMC believes the broadcasting commission has failed to fulfill its mandate to create a healthy broadcast media environment, instead creating fear and discomfort, is unable to uniformly treat media agencies equitably, and is unable to fulfil the Broadcasting Act’s mandates.

The media council has also called on MBC to “stop any action that might affect freedom of media” including creating fear and threatening media agencies.

“MBC was threatening media organizations [and] was failing to establish equality in implementing regulations…and therefore MMC has lost faith in the current members of MBC,” MMC President Husham Mohamed told local media.

MMC decided to file the case in Parliament after MBC issued a “warning” on Friday night (September 27), saying that broadcasting licenses would be revoked from any outlet transmitting content which “threatens national security”, Husham explained.

MBC said it would file legal proceedings against any media organisation it believed had broadcast such materials in violation of the Broadcasting Act.

Another factor prompting the MMC to take action against the broadcasting commission was MBC’s call on Thursday (September 26) that broadcasters to “refrain from airing photos of members of independent institutions – Supreme Court judges and Elections Commission members – in a derogatory manner which could jeopardize national harmony, until the Commission concludes adjudication of the related complaints”.

Seven of 11 MMC members voted in favor of the action against MBC members during the extra-ordinary meeting held on Saturday (September 28).

Last week the Broadcasting Commission ruled that the Maldives Broadcasting Corporation’s televising of the Jamiyyathul Salaf’ ‘Al Andhalus’ preacher Sheikh Adam Shameem Ibrahim did not violate any regulations.

The decision came after the Broadcasting Corporation’s chairman Ibrahim Umar Manik along with MBC members were summoned before Parliament’s Independent Institutions Committee, following complaints by Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) MPs that the sermon infringed the rights of the party’s presidential candidate.

MMC Elections Commission complaint

The MMC has also called on the Elections Commission to “refrain from discriminating between media organizations when sharing information regarding the presidential elections”.

“I haven’t heard that complaint [officially from the Maldives Media Council],” EC Chair Fuwad Thowfeek told Minivan News yesterday (September 29).

“I have respected calls from various media [outlets, however] what I say is not properly addressed in reports, so I’m private as possible,” Thowfeek explained. “I give interviews to people I can trust to write what I say [accurately].”

“Also it depends on the time I have, [for example] if I’m in a meeting I can’t speak to anyone, but once I have free time I do,” he continued.

“If I believe the journalist will give [my] message accurately then I will give [that person] reports,” he emphasised.

MBC recently launched an investigation into Villa TV (VTV) – owned by resort tycoon, former Judicial Services Commission member, and Jumhooree Party Presidential Candidate Gasim Ibrahim – broadcasting unsubstantiated content to incite hatred against the Elections Commission in violation of the broadcasting code of practice.

Local media broadcasting unsubstantiated information about the Elections Commission and electoral process catalyzed unrest throughout the Maldives.

Confusion over the presidential election’s first round voting figures was created by local media reports not matching those of the EC during counting, with sluggish EC figures supplemented by differing poll results, depending on the outlet chosen.

Media misrepresentation

Inaccurate local media reporting was also highlighted as a problem by Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) Chairperson ‘Reeko’ Moosa Manik during an press conference held today (September 30).

“My comments made in public on Friday have been changed a lot [in local media reports],” said Manik.

“I want all Maldivians to know this. I work against brutality. I specifically said if any of the police officers here hit me, I will tell my wife to go and tell his wife not to brutalize us,” he emphasised.

Police are currently investigating Manik for threatening police and their families.

Meanwhile, the Police Integrity Commission (PIC) has ruled that it had not come across any substantial evidence supporting the claims of Manik being attacked by Corporal Mohamed Atheef during the brutal police crackdown on February 8, 2012.

UN human rights encouragement

In light of these local media issues, the Maldives’ United Nations Resident Coordinator’s Office has encouraged journalists to leverage the UN human rights system to collectively advocate for freedom of opinion and expression to be upheld.

“As media professionals, I would encourage you to build your awareness and knowledge of international human rights standards, and reflect on how you could use the UN human rights system to, especially collectively, advocate for the respect and protection of freedom of opinion and expression in the Maldives, including the protection of journalists,” said UN Human Rights Adviser Safir Syed.

“I cannot emphasise enough that it really is in your interests,” he added.

The UN Human Rights Committee’s General Comment on freedom of opinion and expression was attached to an email sent to various local media outlets yesterday (September 29).

“A free, uncensored and unhindered press or other media is essential in any society to ensure freedom of opinion and expression and the enjoyment of other Covenant rights. It constitutes one of the cornerstones of a democratic society,” Syed quoted from the General Comment document.


MBC, broadcasting commission summoned to parliamentary committee over televising “politicised” religious sermon

A religious sermon televised live on Television Maldives (TVM) was interrupted for violating the state broadcaster’s guidelines, Maldives Broadcasting Corporation (MBC) Chairman Ibrahim Umar Manik told a parliamentary sub-committee today.

The MBC chairman along with members of the Maldives Broadcasting Commission were summoned before the Independent Institutions Committee following complaints by MPs of the Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) that the sermon by religious NGO Jamiyyathul Salaf preacher Sheikh Adam Shameem Ibrahim infringed the rights of the party’s presidential candidate.

“We definitely do not consider [televising the sermon] as anti-campaigning against a particular candidate using religion. [But] around 11:35pm, because his talk was changing a little, we stopped the live [broadcasting],” Manik was quoted as saying by local media.

The state television decided to approve the live broadcast after considering whether it involved either a politician or political party and after determining if the Islamic Ministry had authorised the sermon, Manik explained.

Asked by MPs whether he had heard the Sheikh’s criticism of the MDP’s guest house policy, Manik said MBC will evaluate the content of the sermon and take measures.

Speaking to Minivan News today, Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party (DRP) MP Rozaina Adam, a member of the sub-committee, explained that the complaints alleged that the religious scholars politicised the sermon titled ‘Andhalus,’ which MDP MPs contended resembled negative campaigning more than a religious sermon.

Rozaina said that MBC Chairman Manik told the committee that the MBC did a background check on the two sheikhs that delivered the sermon to determine if they had previously been in any political parties or if they were affiliated with any political party. Manik claimed that the background check showed that the sheikhs were not involved in political activities.

According to Rozaina, MDP MP Ali Waheed in the meeting noted that Sheikh Shameem had recently visited his constituency and told the people of the area that MDP would kill him if former President Mohamed Nasheed was re-elected and openly campaigned against the party’s candidate.

Rozaina observed that Sheikh Shameem last night talked against MDP policies such as introducing mid-market tourism but did not reflect on more important issues in terms of religion such as murder, gang violence and drugs.

“The MBC Chairman told the MPs that they cut the live feed when the Sheikhs speech was getting politicised,” Rozaina said. “But I don’t know if they actually cut the live feed.”

The sermon last night was organised by NGO Salaf, attended by senior Adhaalath Party members and broadcast live on all local television channels with the exception of MDP-aligned Raajje TV.

The sermons were delivered by Salaf preachers Sheikh Adam Shameem and Sheikh Ahmed Sameer under the title “The Fall of Andalus (Spain).”

Advertisements on social media stated that “the fall of Andalus (Spain) is an event Muslims will never forget. Why did it happen? What lead to the fall of this great Muslim state and what lessons can we draw from this. We present to you ‘Andalus’ by Sheikh Adam Shameem and Sheikh Ahmed Sameer.”


Vice President should not be a “spare part”: Waheed

President Dr Mohamed Waheed last night told state broadcaster Television Maldives (TVM) that a vice-president should not be treated like a “spare part”.

Speaking in the second of a series of TVM interviews with next month’s presidential candidates, the incumbent president stated his belief that the vice president ought to have more responsibility.

“I believe that changes are needed. A vice president should not be a spare part that replaces the president if he resigns or passes away. The people choose a vice president after careful consideration. They vote for two people, the president and the vice president, on the same ticket,” President Waheed said.

Waheed assumed office on February 7, 2012, after being elevated from his position as vice-president to Mohamed Nasheed. President Nasheed resigned amidst chaotic scenes as police mutinied following weeks of anti-government agitation.

Waheed told his interviewer, Leeza Laurella, that Nasheed had reneged on a prior agreement to hand the vice-president powers over foreign policy – giving preference to fellow Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) members.

Soon after Waheed assumed the presidency, his frustration with his previous role was described by his then-special advisor Dr Hassan Saeed in a leaked audio recording.

“There was no major role for President Waheed in the previous government. Very many days [spent] bored in the office… When an educated man like him whiles the day away being like this, going on the Internet… really it is sad. This is how Waheed was,” said Dr Saeed.

Prior to his political career, Dr Waheed was notable for being the first Maldivian to gain a doctorate as well as being the first person to appear on Maldivian Television, anchoring TVM’s first broadcast in 1978.

After a short period as a member of the People’s Majlis, Waheed spent a number of years working for UNICEF, eventually becoming Deputy Regional Director for South Asia.

Role in February 7

Responding to the repeated accusations that he did not fulfil his responsibilities in supporting President Nasheed during the February 2012 crisis, Waheed told his interviewer that Nasheed had not asked for his counsel.

“President Nasheed did not call me. If he wanted to talk to me, he could have asked the SPG (Special Protection Group), the same group that protects us both. He could have handed me the phone through them, could he not?”

Maintaining that the events of February 7 marked the final stages of a conspiracy in which Waheed was complicit, the MDP have repeatedly accused Waheed of failing to fulfill his duties as second in command.

Mentioning a late night meeting with anti-Nasheed figures just days before the transfer of power, Waheed told TVM that Nasheed had been informed of the meeting and all normal procedures followed.

MDP MP Mariya Didi manwhile published a report in June 2012 arguing that Waheed’s failure to fully discuss this meeting with the rest of the cabinet represented a violation of his responsibilities as the vice-president.

Waheed had been open on a number of previous occasions regarding his marginalisation in the decision making process, in 2010 describing the Nasheed administration as a “one man show”.

Nasheed will stand against Waheed in September’s poll, having chosen Dr Musthafa Luthfy as his running mate. When making the announcement, the MDP stipulated that Luthfy would call an election immediately should Nasheed be “killed or incapacitated” rather than assuming the presidency himself.


Waheed yesterday explained that he had chosen his current running-mate, Dhivehi Rayithunge Party (DRP) leader Thasmeen Ali as he is “well-mannered and keeps his word”.

During the interview he also denied that he had described the Adhaalath Party as containing extremist elements – comments which prompted the religious party to leave Waheed’s ‘forward with the nation’ coalition in June, later allying with the Jumhoree Party (JP).

Yesterday’s interview, the second in a series featuring all the presidential hopefuls, followed Friday’s combative encounter with Jumhoree Coalition candidate Ibrahim Gasim.

Following Gasim’s discussion with Laurella, JP deputy leader Ilham Ahmed told local media that the JP would be considering a boycott of the station. Ilham argued that, contrary to the shows title – with ‘siyaasath’ meaning ‘policy’ – the presenter asked Gasim a series of personal questions in an attempt to damage his reputation.

“This was done with the intention of demeaning a person under a systematic plan. We don’t believe that this could have been done under press freedom,” he explained to reporters from Haveeru. “We have seen TVM going after Gasim.”

Ilham also insisted that the show had made repeated attempts to make Gasim appear “odd”.

The Maldives Broadcasting Corporation (MBC) defended its station, telling local media that Gasim’s TVM interview was conducted within its editorial policy.

It was announced in June that TVM would be scheduling a presidential debate featuring all four candidates for September 1.


Maldives Broadcasting Corporation schedules presidential debate for September 1

The Maldives Broadcasting Corporation (MBC) has announced that a debate between rival presidential candidates will be broadcast via state media on September 1 this year.

MBC Managing Director Mohamed Shafeeq Mahmoud told local media that efforts were underway to secure the participation of the four key candidates presently expected to contest the presidential election, which has been scheduled for September 7.

These participants are expected to be President Dr Mohamed Waheed; Mohamed Nasheed of the Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP), MP Abdullah Yameen of the Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) and MP Gasim Ibrahim of the Jumhoree Party (JP).

Shafeeq told Sun Online that in the build up to the debate, state television and radio would provide airtime for candidates to broadcast information on their campaigns from July.

Television Maldives (TVM) is expected to broadcast four separate live programmes, each focused on a single candidate that will include the opportunity for the public to ask questions, he said.


Decision to halt live programme not politically motivated, state broadcaster claims

The Chief Operating Officer (COO) of state broadcaster Television Maldives (TVM) Mohamed ‘Mondhu’ Asif has said that yesterday’s decision (December 19) to cease transmission of the live show ‘Thafaas’ was not politically motivated.

Speaking to Minivan News Today, Asif dismissed allegations circulating on social media alleging that the programme was halted following a direct order from Dr President Mohamed Waheed Hassan, claiming the decision was taken over a violation of “editorial policy”.

“I can confirm you that no order was sent from either President Waheed or any governmental authority. We are now an independent television station as under the Maldives Broadcasting Corporation Act,” he said.

Asif admitted that the programme had been halted during a live telecast, but claimed the decision was made over concerns that the show’s content had violated the station’s editorial policy.

“We had done that previously as well. As a principle, in a live television programme, if [the show’s content] violates the editorial policy set out by the company, we would usually halt the telecast of that programme,” he explained.

Asked if any action may be taken against members of staff over the issue, Asif explained that TVM had only decided to halt the yesterday’s live broadcast at present. He added that TVM management would need to assess in future how guests were briefed over what they could and could not speak about on the state broadcaster.

During the terminated broadcast, Feydhoo constituency MP Alhan Fahmy and Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) council member and a local lawyer Ibrahim ‘Wadde’ Waheed had been invited to reportedly discuss current parliamentary issues.

Twitter response

Despite Asif’s claims that the show was taken off air in line with concerns over editorial policy, the host of the ‘Thafaas’ show, Ali Shamin, yesterday used his personal twitter account tweeted to claim – “I’m done with this, it’s all politics,”.

One of the guests, MP Alhan Fahmy responded to the tweet urging Shamin to “make it clear” for the public about what happened.

“[Please] make it clear to the public. [People] need to know what happened! [Don’t] worry about the job,” read MP Fahmy’s twitter response to Shamin’s tweet.

Speaking to Minivan News, Communications and Advocacy Manager of local NGO Transparency Maldives, Aiman Rasheed Ibrahim said that the NGO had noticed that “an incumbent government had always had the opportunity to unduly influence the content of the state media [in the country]”.

Transparency Maldives had previously conducted a media monitoring programme back in 2011.

“Perhaps the new legislation may mean state influence may not be as extreme as was the case prior to the ratification of the legislation, but the ground reality is that an incumbent government has always had the opportunity to unduly influence the content of the state media,” Rasheed suggested.

When contacted by Minivan News today MP Alhan Fahmy said that he was very busy and had already given information about the matter to private broadcaster Raajje TV.

The MBC has been previously involved in a protracted legal battle against former President Mohamed Nasheed’s administration over whether the executive – via the Maldives National Broadcasting Corporation (MNBC) – or parliament should have responsibility for overseeing state media.

The MNBC was established by Nasheed to run the state media, removing its employees from the jurisdiction of the Civil Service Commission (CSC). In 2010, the then-opposition majority parliament created MBC and demanded the transfer of MNBC’s assets to the new body, which Nasheed’s government refused to do, alleging political partiality on behalf of the MBC board.

Following the controversial transfer of power that saw President Mohamed Waheed Hassan take office in February, MBC was granted control of the state broadcaster.  On February 7, the channel – then called MNBC one – was renamed TVM.

Meanwhile, fellow state broadcaster Raajje Radio was re-branded as Voice of Maldives. TVM and Voice of Maldives were used as the names for the two channels during the autocratic 30-year rule of former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom.


State institutions blame Finance Ministry for unpaid electricity bills

Senior officials of state institutions summoned to parliament’s Government Oversight Committee on Tuesday night blamed the Finance Ministry for unpaid electricity bills to the State Electricity Company (STELCO).

STELCO Chief Technical Officer Dr Mohamed Zaid told the committee that local councils informed STELCO that funds allocated in their annual budgets were only enough to pay electricity bills for two or three months.

Zaid said discussions with the government have been ongoing since STELCO’s board made a decision to disconnect electricity from state institutions with large overdue bills.

The company was owed MVR 174 million (US$11.3 million) from various state institutions, he said.

While 78 percent of STELCO’s expenditure was on diesel, Dr Zaid revealed that the company owed MVR 132 million (US$8.6 million) for oil purchased on credit, including MVR 34 million (US$2.2 million) for oil bills currently overdue.

Among the institutions with the largest outstanding bills, the Male’ Health Corporation (MHC), which operates the Indira Gandhi Memorial Hospital (IGMH), owes STELCO MVR 31 million (US$2 million) for 20 months of unpaid bills while the Maldives Broadcasting Corporation (MBC) owes MVR 7.1 million (US$460,000) for the past five months.

Speaking at the committee, Male’ City Councillor Aimon Ismail said the Finance Ministry did not provide MVR 6.74 million (US$437,094) requested by the council for electricity costs in 2012. The Male’ City Council is responsible for paying electricity bills for mosques, public parks and street lights in the capital.

Meanwhile, newspaper Haveeru reported yesterday (Wednesday) that parliament’s Finance Committee decided to give the Finance Ministry a week to settle MBC’s outstanding bills in addition to asking the Auditor General’s Office to conduct a special performance audit of the state broadcaster.