Adeeb denies connection with former Raajje TV journalist Asward

Tourism minister Ahmed Adeeb has rejected suggestions that he was linked to the recent resignation of Raajje TV journalist and Deputy CEO Ibrahim ‘Asward’ Waheed.

Raajje TV itself tweeted from its official account that Asward had left the channel after it emerged that he was working to establish a media channel with a senior member of the incumbent government.

After rumours on social media suggested Adeeb was the politician in question, he tweeted in response.

Asward – who came close to death following brutal attack in February 2013 – maintains that he left the channel due to its “deviation from the original objective”.

Despite being regarded as as aligned with the Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP), Raajje TV’s Senior Advisor and former MDP MP for Velidhoo Constituency Yameen Rasheed recently defected to the ruling Progressive Party of Maldives.


Home Ministry opens up second call for newspaper, magazine re-registration

The Ministry of Home Affairs has opened up a second re-registration call for all news outlets and magazines.

The ministry had ordered all registered newspapers, news websites, magazines, and periodicals to re-register in October during the vote to elect members for the Maldives Media Council.

The order came after reporters complained over the eligibility of publications that were not in regular circulation to vote in the elections.

The ministry said it was opening up a second call due to popular requests. Media companies and news outlets must submit proof that they have been regularly publishing in the past six months.


In the Maldives, it’s not just knives that journalists are being threatened with: The Independent

“Anyone searching for #Maldives on Twitter over the last week, and expecting to see endless pictures of an idyllic desert island holiday, may have found themselves slightly perplexed by the seemingly random image of a machete lodged through a door,” writes Neil Merrett for the UK’s  Independent newspaper.

“The door in question belongs to Minivan News, an independent online publication that has provided coverage of the country’s often painful transition from an autocratic theocracy to a democracy.

Minivian News journalists were then once again threatened with their lives via SMS. ‘You will be killed next,’ Minivan News’ current deputy editor was told.

The machete, pictured above, was a gift from suspected gang members on a self-proclaimed spiritual mission to “eliminate” suspected secularists, atheists and homosexuals. Conveniently, these labels are almost always attached to media outlets, NGOs, opposition politicians and bloggers.

What started with a machete through the door of the Minivan News office, soon escalated into arson threats being issued against the publication and Raajje TV. Police moved quickly to evacuate the offices of both media outlets, while providing them with ongoing protection.”

Read more


Media council re-opens membership application

The Maldives Media Council (MMC) has reopened the application process for new members for the third time.

In a statement released today, the home ministry said that the application would be open for applicants who want to become a member of the committee until October 22.

The MMC consists of eight members from the media and seven members from the general public who are not affiliated with the media.

Complications with the first attempted application process caused the elections to be postponed, while the second attempt was delayed after issues were raised regarding inactive media outlets still being eligible to vote.


EU concerned at gang violence and religious intolerance in Maldives

The EU delegation in Colombo and EU member states have noted concern at “mounting gang violence and signs of increasing religious intolerance” in the Maldives.

“The EU Heads of Mission, the Ambassador of Norway and the Charge d’Affaires a.i. of Switzerland are very concerned about the recent reports of attacks, intimidation and death threats faced by journalists, politicians, human rights campaigners and representatives of civil,” read a statement released today.

The offices of Minivan News were attacked last week, as were those of the Maldivian Democratic Party, and the homes of a number of MPs. Journalists have continued to receive death threats, warning against reporting on such activities.

The EU representatives, as well as the Embassies of Norway and Switzerland, today said that these instances were “contributing to a climate of growing fear in the Maldives and reducing the space for public discussion.”

It was also suggested that the ongoing legal action initiated by the Supreme Court against the Human Rights Commission of Maldives “risks undermining the independence of the HRCM, a key democratic institution”.

The Supreme Court’s suo moto case relates to the publication of a report submitted to the UN Human Rights Council earlier this month for its Universal Periodic Review on grounds that the compilation of and the content of the report was against procedures, and contained false information.

“In the interests of both the Maldives and the many visitors to the country, we call upon the Maldivian authorities to create a safe and enabling environment in which citizens and institutions can operate freely in full respect of their constitutional rights.”

Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird yesterday expressed concern at the “deterioration” of the human rights situation in the Maldives while the US and UK have also noted their own concerns this month.

Foreign Minister Dunya Maumoon has also condemned the recent attacks, reiterating the government’s commitment to an “environment that gives protection to media personnel to exercise their duties freely and responsibly.”


MJA election indefinitely delayed

The Maldives Journalist Association (MJA)’s election of its executive committee has been indefinitely delayed. It was previously scheduled to be held on Sunday, September 21.

In a statement released today, the MJA explained that the delay in the election is due to numerous complaints received regarding recently submitted membership forms. It states that the currently serving executive committee decided unanimously to delay the election until the complaints are resolved.

The statement elaborated on the nature of complaints received, stating that many concerned the application for membership by individuals who are not journalists, and errors in the names submitted on forms.

The MJA has made three previous attempts to hold the elections, but it has been cancelled every time due to concerns raised by various members of the association.


Journalist Haseen denies charges of obstructing police duty

Channel News Maldives (CNM) journalist Abdulla Haseen has denied charges raised against him of working with political figures to obstruct police duties.

At a hearing held at the Criminal Court today, Haseen is reported in local media as having said that he had attended political rallies only as a journalist with the intention of covering them for news pieces.

Haseen is accused of having removed police barricades and of speaking to police officers in obscene language along with Abdulla Idrees of Gulfaamuge in Laamu Maavah and former opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) MP Hamid Abdul Ghafoor.

The next hearing of the case has been scheduled to be held on September 28.


Five member committee appointed to oversee MJA election

A five member committee representative of media outlets have been appointed on Wednesday to organise and hold the election of the leadership of Maldives Journalist Association (MJA).

After disputes within the association over the polls, MJA President Ahmed ‘Hiriga’ Zahir tendered his resignation following the last meeting on Sunday (August 24) which ended with accusations of assault.

The five persons appointed to the committee are Haveeru News Senior Assistant Editor Ahmed Hamdhoon, Sun Online Assistant Editor Ibrahim Zaki, VNews Senior Editor Ahmed Rifau, Raajje TV journalist Mohamed Fazeen, and Editor Azmi Ali.


Special committee to hold MJA elections

The Maldives Journalists Association (MJA) will select a special committee representative of the country’s media outlets to conduct its internal elections, following continuing disputes over the polls.

The association stated in a press release that the committee will be compiled of the association’s managerial committee and five representatives from media outlets. The five members will be selected through a nomination and voting process in a meeting of the managerial committee to be held today (August 26).

The MJA has attempted to hold the election of its board members on three previous occasions, with meetings being repeatedly disrupted due to concerns raised by various members.

Disruptions to the most recent meeting resulted in accusations of assault, while the accused member received a death threat just moments after the incident. Former President Ahmed ‘Hiriga’ Zahir tendered his resignation following Sunday’s meeting, citing an atmosphere “not conducive” to the holding of elections.