Doctors licensing examination cancelled after no show

The first licensing examination for doctors to be held in the Maldives has been cancelled after no doctors participated.

Speaking to local media, Maldives Medical Council President Dr Abdulla Afeef said that doctors chose not to participate in the examination after raising questions as to why only certain doctors were required to sit the test.

Haveeru reported that the examination was required for doctors who were given temporary licenses after 2013, saying that there were 15 Maldivian doctors fitting the criteria.

“The doctors in question were aware of the fact they were being given a temporary license to practice,” Haveeru reported Dr Afeef as saying. “The doctors will have two more chances to take the exam in June and December. If they do not participate their licenses will be cancelled.”

The Medical Council has previously said that the examination will consist of 150 multiple choice questions.

Source: Haveeru


Broadcasting Commission cannot regulate way in which Supreme Court is addressed

The Maldives Broadcasting Commission (MBC) has told the Supreme Court that asking media to write the names of persons in a specific way is against international best practice.

The commission’s letter was sent to the Supreme Court on Sunday (March 16) in response to a court request for MBC to enforce strict rules on how Supreme Court judges must be addressed in the media.

It was also pointed out to the court that the commission is mandated with regulating broadcast media alone.

MBC claims to have received a letter suggesting that the court’s justices were being addressed in ways other than how they should be, requesting that the commission inform all media outlets on the appropriate manner in which to write the names of the Supreme Court bench.

An official at MBC told Minivan News that the letter stipulated the Chief Justice Ahmed Faiz’s was to be preceded by the title ‘Chief Justice of the Maldives Honorable Al Ustaz’, the title ‘Justice Honorable Dr’ should be used for Justice Dr Ahmed Abdulla Didi, and ‘Justice Honorable Al Ustaz’ for the rest of the bench.

MBC’s reply to the court – signed by the commission President Mohamed Shaheeb – stated that it was not within the commission’s mandate to dictate the content of any station, and that broadcasters were free to work in accordance to their own editorial guidelines in such matters.

The commission highlighted that it does only what is mandated by the Broadcasting Act and regulations, and that it ensures that all licensed broadcasters abide by the code of conduct formulated by the commission.

The Maldives Media Council – established under the Maldives Media Council Act – is mandated with establishing and maintaining a code of conduct for journalists in the country. Minivan News has learned that the council has yet to be approached by court on this matter.

Meanwhile, the Maldives Journalists Association President Ahmed ‘Hirigaa’ Zahir has said that the association is also of the view that journalists should not be forced to use names of anyone in a specific way.

“Anyone can request the media to use write their name how they want it to be written. But it should not be a requirement. Media reports in simple language,” said Zahir.

“While members of parliament are addressed as ‘honorable member’ in the parliament or justices are addressed in a specific way within the courtroom, it does not have to be the case in reporting or speaking in general public.”


Abdulla Muaz appointed president of media council

The Maldives Media Council (MMC) members have appointed Abdulla Muaz as their new president.

The former president of the council, Husham Mohamed, resigned on 9 February after saying that the council did not have adequate legal authority.

The MMC website stated that Muaz received six votes from the council while the one of the other two candidates got five votes.

In July 18, 2012 MPs voted 53-1 against a recommendation by the Finance Committee to dissolve the MMC and transfer its mandate to the Maldives Broadcasting Commission.


Raajje TV seeking “international assistance” to investigate arson attack

Opposition-aligned broadcaster Raajje TV is seeking international assistance to investigate the arson attack that destroyed its main office earlier this month – alleging concern at potential state involvement in the crime.

Police have so far confirmed that three individuals aged 18, 21, and 24 have been arrested over their alleged roles in fire bombing the private broadcaster, with investigations ongoing to identify other suspects involved.

A police media official declined to provide any more information on the investigation at time of press, beyond confirmation of the arrest of three suspects.

Six assailants were pictured committing the attack on CCTV.  The attackers also stabbed a security guard for the building.

“I don’t think we can expect police to solve this” Raajje TV Chairman

Raajje TV Chairman Akram Kamaaluddin has questioned the efforts and commitment of law enforcement officials to solve the case, with no further information shared by police so far over the progress of the investigation.

“I don’t think we can expect police to solve this, I highly suspect they may be involved in this,” he said. “So we are seeking international help with our own investigation.”

Kamaaluddin declined to provide further information of the nature of the international assistance he was seeking at time of press.

He alleged that the attack on its offices and control room by masked figures that destroyed cameras, computer systems, as well as broadcasting and transmission equipment was “state-organised”.

The station has continued to allege police and government involvement in the arson attack, namely Tourism Minister Ahmed Adheeb.

Adheeb has denied the allegations, which he described as “politically motivated, biased, baseless claims.”

The private broadcaster has also accused officers of purposefully failing to protect it after reporting threats made against the station and its staff ahead of the attack.

The Maldives Police Service has previously confirmed that it had been made aware of threats to Raajje TV ahead of the attack on its office

On October 9, the Maldives National Defense Force (MNDF) issued a statement denying reports spread on social media that a suspect suspected injured in the arson attack on Raajje TV was being treated at a military hospital.

The MNDF statement said the military hospital treated three firemen who were injured while trying to control the blaze, rejecting allegations of treating potential suspects while criticising efforts to spread news relating to the attack without clarifying the matter first.

Meanwhile, recently released CCTV footage of the arson attack shows several of the six arsonists without masks, and implicates an additional six men in the arson attack.

The Maldives Police Service has also released CCTV footage showing two men donning masks on Ameer Ahmed Street, a few blocks away from Raajje TV offices, shortly before the fire at the station’s offices.

Global condemnation

Global NGO Reporters Without Borders (RSF) has condemned the arson attack and criticised what it called the Maldives Police Services’ failure to defend the station despite repeated requests for police protection.

“This criminal act is a direct blow to freedom of information and 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.

Chief Superintendent of Police Abdulla Nawaz had previously said the institution had been unable to station officers at Raajje TV as many were being utilised at the Maldivian Democratic Party’s (MDP) protests following a Supreme Court order to suspend presidential elections.

The Maldives Media Council (MMC) condemned the Raajje TV attack as an attempt to “eliminate” one of the country’s most watched broadcasters, calling for security forces to do more to protect media outlets and journalists.

The Maldives Journalists Association (MJA) has meanwhile said it continues to call for those responsible for the attack to be brought to justice.

MMC member and Maldives Journalist Association (MJA) President Ahmed ‘Hiriga’ Zahir today said he personally had not been made aware of any discrimination in the treatment  of certain broadcasters by police.

Zahir argued shortly after the that media should not cover live events and other developments in the country in a manner that would incite violence.

Zahir confirmed the MCC had published a statement before the attack criticising any media found to be trying to incite institutions or individuals to perform violent acts.

The statement specifically condemned any media found to be spreading calls for “terrorism and unrest”, something it said was not permitted even in nations regarded as leading in international standards of press freedom.

Zahir cited one notable example of media inciting unrest was by covering the statements of certain politicians who encouraged people to “violate the law” and go against state institutions.

Media violence

The attack is the second raid on the Raajje TV’s building by masked assailants. During the first attack – in August 2012 – assailants sabotaged equipment in the station and cut critical cables.

In February 2013, men wielding iron rods on motorbikes assaulted Raajje TV’s news head Ibrahim ‘Aswad’ Waheed Asward, leaving him with near-fatal head injuries.

The main office of Villa TV (VTV), a private broadcaster owned by Jumhooree Party (JP) Leader – and third-placed presidential candidate MP Gasim Ibrahim – was attacked during anti-government protests on March 19, 2012.


MJA express concern over media limitations outlined in assembly bill

The Maldives Journalists’ Association (MJA) has expressed concern over certain clauses in the Freedom of Peaceful Assembly Bill passed this week that it says will directly impact reporting by local and international media organisations.

The bill, passed by parliament on December 26, includes a number of measures such as banning demonstrations outside private residences and government buildings, as well as establishing reporting limitations on media not accredited with the state.

MJA President and board member of the Maldives Media Council (MMC) ‘Hiriga’ Ahmed Zahir stated today that the association has appealed to Attorney General Azima Shakoor and President Mohamed Waheed Hassan to review some of the clauses in the legislation.

According to the bill, only journalists who are accredited by the Maldives Broadcasting Commission (MBC) will be authorised to cover and report on gatherings and police activities in the country. The bill would also require MBC to establish a regulation on accrediting journalists within three months of its ratification.

Zahir claimed that in view of existing laws and regulations, the MBC is mandated with the oversight of broadcast media, while it was the MMC that had been entrusted with regulating all media outlets in the country.

“For one thing, I do not believe that a body appointed by the parliament will be able to undertake the accreditation of media persons in an independent manner free from any influence. We are seeing the MBC failing to address many existing issues even now, so we cannot support handing over additional responsibilities like this to such a body,” Zahir said.

Zahir also stated that in principle, the MJA did not approve of the idea of journalists having to get accredited before being able to report on events like protests.  The MJA has stated that events and gatherings should ideally be accessible to all media outlets.

Zahir also raised concerns that foreign journalists coming to the Maldives would also be required to obtain additional accreditation. He said that international media was already faced with having to meet specific visa requirements and obtaining state approval.

“For example, [international reporters] cannot really cover events if they are just here on a tourist visa, that won’t be allowed anywhere in the world,” he said.

However, due to the current political situation in the Maldives and allegations of some media personnel carrying out “irresponsible activities”, the MJA stated it could ultimately agree on some form of accreditation process.

Zahir nonetheless emphasized that even in such a case, accreditation should be done by a self-regulatory body with representation from media outlets in the country.

“From the existing bodies, we would prefer that the responsibility be handed over to the MMC. The council has representatives from all major media outlets in the country. Its members will respect individual rights and can do an independent job,” Zahir said.

On the back of the MJA’s concerns about the bill’s impact on media, Attorney General Azima Shakoor has been quoted in local media as accepting some form of review may be needed.

“Although the said bill regulates a different issue, one stipulation in this contradicts with the mandates of MBC and MMC. Hence, the best line of action may be to correct this through an immediate amendment. I feel that would be the most convenient solution now,” she was quoted as saying.

The bill further states that if an accredited journalist is suspected of being involved in a gathering’s activities, they would be treated in the same manner of those assembled as to the discretion of the police. The bill, however, does not define what could be considered such an act.

Commenting on the vague nature of the clause, Zahir told Minivan News that loose phrasing seen in the bill potentially left too much interpretation at the discretion of the police and their powers.

“The bill should more clearly define what exactly it means when saying a journalist is ‘seen to be participating in a protest’. They should set down specific actions. For example, it’s not a problem for a journalist to go into a crowd of people gathered, they do not necessarily have to stay behind police lines all the time. Just them walking into a crowd should not be defined as participation. It has to depend on a certain action they do alongside protesters,” Zahir explained.

Zahir stated that although media personnel – as individuals – are granted the constitutional right to participate in demonstrations, the MJA did not encourage such actions.

In the initial draft of Freedom of Peaceful Assembly bill, the accreditation of journalists had been put down as a responsibility of the MMC, as reported in local news websites. However, the responsibility had been transferred to the MBC by the time the bill had been revised at committee level and submitted to the parliament for final voting.

MBC Vice President Mohamed Shaheeb was not responding to calls at the time of press.


Parliament passes bill redefining limitations on freedom of assembly

Parliament on Tuesday (December 25) passed the bill on “Freedom of Peaceful Assembly” despite unanimous opposition from the Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP). The legislation was first submitted by independent MP Mohamed Nasheed on 5 April 2012.

The bill, which was initially called ‘Freedom of Assembly Bill’ was passed on the parliament floor with 44 votes in favour, and 30 votes against.

Among the key features of the bill is the outlawing of demonstrations outside private residences and government buildings, limitations on media not accredited with the state and defining gatherings as a group with more than a single person.

One of the main stated objectives of the legislation is to try and minimize restrictions on peaceful gatherings, which it claims remain a fundamental right.

The legislation continues that any restrictions enforced by police or other state institutions on participants at a gathering must be proportionate actions as outlined under specific circumstances defined in the bill.

The bill also provides a definition for ‘Gathering’ in Article 7(a), stating it refers to more than one person, with the same objective, purposefully attending a public or private place temporarily and peacefully expressing their views there.

Article 9(a), meanwhile, defines ‘Peaceful’ in relation to a gathering as being one where the organizers have notified [authorities] that this is a gathering to achieve a peaceful purpose, and provided no acts of violence occur, nor are there any chants, writing or drawings encouraging violence used in the gathering. Additionally, in such a gathering, no acts violating any laws must be committed, nor encouraged. Nor should participants have any items on them which can potentially be used to commit acts of violence.

Section (b) of Article 9 rejects defining a gathering as ‘not peaceful’ on the basis of words or behaviour of certain participants during a protest that may be considered hateful or unacceptable by other persons.

Under the new bill, citizens are not allowed to hold gatherings within a certain distance of the headquarters of police and the Maldives National Defence Force (MNDF).

Demonstrations would also be outlawed within a certain distance of the residences of the president and the vice president, the offices of the Maldives Monetary Authority (MMA), tourist resorts, harbours utilized for economic purposes, airports, the President’s Office, the courts of law, the Parliament, mosques, schools, hospitals and buildings housing diplomatic missions.

The bill also states that demonstrators wishing to protest against a specific individual, may not use megaphones, stand outside, or have a sit-down outside that person’s residence.

The regulation also states that although demonstrators do not need to seek authorization ahead of a gathering, police must be then notified of any pre-planned demonstrations before they commence.

Among the actions prohibited under the bill include an article stating that participants in a demonstration are not to have on them swords, knives, other sharp objects, wood, metal rods, batons, bleach, petrol, kerosene, any form of chilli (including dried or powdered), acid, explosives, any other items that can potentially be used as a weapon or any gear used by police for riot-controlling and peacekeeping.

Article 21 stipulates that participants will also not be allowed to cover their faces with masks, balaclavas or any other material which would prevent them from being identifiable.

The bill does guarantee organizers and participants of a gathering the right to decide where to hold a demonstration as well as choosing its objectives and the persons who are given the opportunity to speak during the protest.

The bill will not be applicable to activities, gatherings or meetings organized by state institutions, or those organized under any other law and to sports, games, business or cultural events.

According to the bill, if participants in a gathering have to face material or physical loss due to the negligence of police who must provide protection, then the police institution must provide compensation. It further adds that in such instances, the affected individual cannot be penalized for having taken part in the gathering.

The regulations also impose restrictions on police officers, preventing them from partaking in activities such as joining a gathering, displaying agreement or disagreement to messages or themes of a protest and ordering where or when to hold demonstrations.  Police officers are also prohibited from intervening in a gathering unless they are in uniform and states officers must not cover their faces unless as part of their riot gear under the bill.

Right to assemble

The bill also states that the right to assemble can be narrowed in the instances of a perceived threat to national security, or in order to maintain public safety as well as to establish societal peace in accordance with existing laws, to protect public health, to maintain levels of public discipline or to protect the rights and freedoms guaranteed to other individuals.

With regard to the media’s right to cover demonstrations, the bill adds that the Maldives Broadcasting Commission (MBC) must draft a regulation on accrediting journalists within three months of the ratification of the Bill on Freedom of Peaceful Assembly. It is only those journalists who are accredited by the MBC who will be granted access to cover and report on gatherings and police activities in the vicinity.

If an accredited journalist is believed to partaking in the gathering’s activities, treating these journalists as equal to those assembled is left at the discretion of the police. The bill, however, does not define what could be considered such an act.

The Maldives Media Council and the Maldives Journalists Association have expressed concern over these stipulations on Wednesday.

The limitations defined in the bill will bring positive changes: Home Minister

Minister of Home Affairs Mohamed Jameel Ahmed has stated that the Freedom of Peaceful Assembly Bill would bring positive changes to the country’s political environment and that it would provide guidance to politicians.

“It’s been established today that every right comes with accompanying responsibilities. I believe even the constitution reflects these principles. However, these principles need to be broken down into a law that would bring convenience to the people. Some among us thought when the constitution came that these are limitless freedoms that we’ve got. These past days we have seen people acting under that belief,” Jameel was quoted as telling the Sun Online news service.

“Under the name of this freedom, they were violating the personal and individual rights and protections of citizens. They were going at people’s residences, gathering outside and yelling vulgarities at parents and families, depriving children and families of sleep. All under the excuse of freedom of assembly.”

The Home Minister said that this bill would bring necessary limits at a time when many undesirable activities were being carried out under the guise of freedoms. He noted that the freedom of assembly was granted within limits in all other developed countries.

Not an ideal time to tamper with fundamental rights: MDP

Responding to the claims, MDP Spokesperson Hamid Abdul Ghafoor expressed concern that the fundamental right to assemble was being limited through the bill at “a time like this.”

“It is not wise to tamper with constitutionally provided fundamental rights at a time like this, when we are in times of a coup. But even that can be understood only by persons who can at first understand democratic principles, of course,” Ghafoor said.

“We need time for the Maldivian psyche to be able to grasp the concepts of fundamental rights first.”

“Home Minister Jameel is a prescriptive, Salafiyya-educated, uncivilized man. He has never yet been able to partake in and win any elected posts, his statements hold no weight in the eyes of the people. He is a man who obviously does not even understand this very basic, fundamental concept,” Hamid said in response to Jameel’s statements in media about the freedom of assembly bill.

Maldivian Democracy Network (MDN), which is cited in the parliamentary committee report as an entity that provided written feedback on the bill was unable to comment on the bill at the time of press.

MDN said that the NGO had today received the final bill which had been passed by the parliament, and that they were currently reviewing it to establish how much of their recommendations had been featured in the final bill.

Minivan News tried to contact MP Mohamed Nasheed, who was not responding to calls at the time of press.

Chair of the committee MP Riyaz Rasheed and Vice Chair MP Ahmed Amir were also not responding to calls this evening.

Human Rights Commission of the Maldives (HRCM) Vice President Ahmed Tholal’s phone was switched off at the time of press.


MMC to investigate Raajje TV dispute despite channel’s defiance

The Maldives Media Council (MMC) has said it intends to continue its investigations into the police’s refusal to cooperate with Raajje TV despite the channels refusal to work with the MMC, reports local media.

The MMC statement said that it was constitutionally obliged to look into the case and to ensure a stable and free media environment in the country.

Haveeru reported that Raajje TV had sent the MMC a letter accusing it of incompetence, having – in its view – failed to resolve the issue previously.

The station said that it would not comment on the case further until the Civil Court had finished deliberating on the issue.

Raajje TV has filed cases against both the police and the President’s Office alleging that the station had been boycotted as well as not receiving appropriate protections from the authorities.


Financial committee to recommend abolition of Media Council

Parliament’s financial committee announced its intention to abolish the Maldives Media Council (MMC) in a report that will be submitted to the house for debate as part of tomorrow’s scheduled agenda.

The report states that the decision has been reached owing to the Solicitor General’s belief that the MMC has not been able to perform its duties and responsibilities to a satisfactory level.

The 15 member MMC, established in 2010, is charged with preserving the freedom and integrity of media in the Maldives as well as encouraging ethical and professional standards within the industry.

The MMC was scheduled to hold elections for new council members on May 10.

President of the Maldives Journalist Association (MJA) Ahmed ‘Hiriga’ Zahir disagrees with the decision of the finance committee.

“First of all let’s look at the reason they have given for disbanding the media council. They are saying it must be disbanded because the council had not executed its responsibilities. But if it is not a justifiable reason. If the council members are not fulfilling their duties, then they must be removed from the position, new members must be appointed and the council must proceed,” he said.

“Disbanding the council just because the members are not working is like dissolving the parliament because members are not working – which is absurd,” said Hiriga.

Additionally, the financial committee will suggest to the house that the responsibilities of the MMC be transferred to the Maldives Broadcasting Commission (MBC) whose current remit covers only television and radio broadcasts.

Hiriga expressed concerns over this idea: “There are talks of assigning the task of print media regulation to the existing Broadcasting Commission. But we must remember that the commission’s composition and mandate is very much structured to regulate the broadcast or electronic media; not the print,” said Hiriga.

“If they are going to reassign the tasks, they must change the composition of the Broadcasting Commission to encourage representation of members more experienced in print media. Because the existing members are screened and selected for the position because of their expertise in electronic media,” Hiriga continued.

Additionally, the current President of the MMC Mohamed Nazeef, believes that the MBC cannot safeguard media freedoms adequately as it is a regulatory arm of the government.

“Parliament elected most of the members of the commission and so it will be hard for them to be independent from the government,” said Nazeef.

In accordance with the Maldives Media Council Act, the MMC operates as an independent legal entity.

Chairman of the finance committee Ahmed Nazim said that the establishment of the MBC has resulted in an overlap of the two bodies’ responsibilities. He said that he hoped to establish a single body “similar to Ofcom in the UK.”

Ofcom is the UK’s independent regulator and competition authority for the communications industry, created by an act of parliament in 2003. The legislation states that the group should protect the interests of citizens and consumers.

Nazim said that the necessary legislation to facilitate the adaptation of the MBC would be introduced by the Public Affairs Committee (PAC) and formed part of the financial committee’s report.

The financial committee’s report also highlights the findings of the Auditor General’s (AG) report from last year which claimed that council members had been illegally receiving a living allowance of Rf7500 (US$500) a month in addition to their salary.

Hiriga stated his agreement that certain aspects of the financial committee’s report held merit, but suggested that legal safeguards would be needed to protect the media.

“We have always maintained that media needs to be self regulated and it must be done under one body,” he said.

“We have no objection to dissolving the media council as such. But if it is being done, then mechanisms to regulate print media must be introduced, the Broadcasting Commission’s composition and legal mandate must be amended. Otherwise it will be an unfair decision.”


“Coup investigation not within our mandate”: HRCM, PIC, PG, ACC, MMC

Investigation into the legality and legitimacy of the transfer of power on February 7 is not within Maldives’ independent state institutions’ mandate, the institutions have said.

Instead, the Human Rights Commission of the Maldives (HRCM) and the Police Integrity Commission (PIC) will respectively investigate human rights violations and police conduct on February 7.

The Prosecutor General (PG) and the Maldives Media Council claim the two bodies do not have investigative authority, while the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) said no cases have been lodged with the commission regarding the transfer of power.

Following the Commonwealth and EU’s call for an impartial investigation into the alleged coup d’état, President Dr Mohamed Waheed Hassan appointed a three member Committee of National Inquiry (CNI) to investigate the transfer of power. However, the commission has come under fire from the Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) and civil society groups for unilateralism and lack of independence.

Moreover, the CNI has said it will not conduct a criminal investigation, but will publish a report based on members’ informed opinions in May. The commission’s mandate “specifically indicates that the inquiry will not be a criminal investigation. Any criminal investigation pertaining to the subject of the inquiry will remain the responsibility of the relevant authorities”.

But with the abdication of responsibility by independent state institutions, it now appears no independent commission in the Maldives will investigate the power transfer of February 7.

Ousted Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) spokesperson Hamid Abdul Gafoor expressed “deep disappointment” and said institutions were “not extending themselves enough.”

“When the system breaks down, it is the responsibility of national mechanisms to deal with it. The democratic impulses driving these institutions are dying. This is why we are asking for external involvement and mediation in the inquiry,” he said.

President Mohamed Nasheed stepped down after elements of the police and military mutinied and called for his resignation. Video footage also show the police and military vandalising MDP’s offices and taking over state media Maldives National Broadcasting Corporation (MNBC) prior to Nasheed’s resignation.

Police cracked down on peaceful demonstrators in Malé the following day on February 8, leading to widespread arson and vandalism of courts, police stations and courts in the atolls.


Speaking to Minivan News, the Human Rights Commission of the Maldives (HRCM) said the commission will investigate human rights violations on February 6, 7, and 8, and release a comprehensive report by mid-April. However, the commission will not look into the transfer of power.

“We will not be looking into the transfer of power. The transfer of power is out of the commission’s mandate or the capacity in terms of numbers to investigate such a complex matter that involves so many institutions,” said commission member Ahmed Abdul Kareem.

“If HRCM gets involved in this inquiry, then we will not be able to investigate day-to-day cases,” he added.

He also said the best solution was for an impartial state inquiry with the representation of the Majlis and courts.

HRCM is currently investigating former President Mohamed Nasheed’s detention of Chief Judge of the Criminal Court, Abdulla Mohamed. The former President, along with former Home Minister Hassan Afeef and Defence Minister Tholath Ibrahim, were last week summoned for questioning by the commission.

In response Gafoor said, “If the HRCM does not understand a coup to be an infringement of an entire public’s human rights, they are not extending themselves at all.”

Police Integrity Commission

President of the Police Integrity Commission (PIC) Shahindha Ismail said the commission would only be investigating the legality of police actions before and after February 7.

“Although the question of a coup has been raised, the PIC does not have the mandate to investigate such a claim. We are investigating police actions before and after February 7—whether they were lawful or unlawful,” she said. The PIC can only address the question of police mutiny once investigations are complete, she added.

Further, the PIC can only investigate the police role, but not that of the military. “There is no oversight body of the military except for the parliament,” she said.

Police Commissioner Abdulla Riyaz previously told local media the police would not be conducting an internal investigation of police conduct during transfer of power, citing concern of investigation “overlap” on the issue between the HRCM and the PIC.

Prosecutor General’s Office

Deputy PG Hussein Shameem said the Prosecutor General was not an investigative body, but could order an investigation if an investigation is not taking place.

“We have not ordered an investigation because we have been informed such an investigation is ongoing,” Shameem said referring to the CNI’s work.

Article 223 (d) of the constitution gives the PG the authority to oversee the legality of preliminary inquiries and investigations into alleged criminal activity. However, with the CNI stating it will not conduct a criminal investigation, the PG office’s role in the CNI inquiry is now unclear.

Maldives Media Council

Minivan News asked the Maldives Media Council (MMC) whether it was investigating the police and military takeover of the Maldives National Broadcasting Corporation (MNBC) on February 7. Video footage shows some kind of firearm or explosive being used to enter the courtyard, and MNBC staff alleged the police and military intimidated them, and forced some journalists to go home before rebranding the station to its former title under Maumoon Abdul Gayoom.

The 15 member MMC is mandated by law to establish and preserve the freedom of media.

MMC President Mohamed Nazeef said the council was not an investigative body, and was waiting on other institutions to complete investigations.

“We are waiting since other institutions, such as the HRCM are investigating this matter. We do not want an overlap. We are not an investigative body and we cannot conduct an in-depth criminal investigation. We can only recommend matters of concern to the police. But if no one is investigating the issue, we will address it,” he said.

“MNBC was state media, controlled and protected by the government. Our concern and focus was more on the media personnel and private independent media organisations,” Nazeef added.

The Anti-Corruption Commission

The Anti-corruption Commission (ACC) said that although the MDP alleged elements of the police and the Maldives National Defense Forces (MNDF) were bribed to revolt against Nasheed, the commission could not investigate the entire military and police force.

“There are allegations that the police and military took bribes during the transfer of power. But there are approximately 5000 police officers. We cannot investigate the entire police force. We would need to conduct a forensic investigation, check their bank accounts and the bank accounts of relatives. But no one, even on a podium, has said with certainty the individual who took bribes. They say all police officers took bribes. I would like whoever is accusing the police to give us more details,” ACC President Hassan Luthfee said.

He also said there had only been two cases submitted regarding the transfer of power. One of them concerned a complaint that MDP demonstrators who laid money at police feet were actually bribing the police. The MDP were protesting against alleged police bribery.


The CNI has now asked for witness statements and asked the public to upload statements and videos on their website if witnesses were uncomfortable giving statements in person.

The CNI has collected statements from all political parties except the MDP. But the MDP has refused to cooperate with the committee.

“We do not recognise the CNI. How can the people who instigated a coup investigate the coup? There is no validity in the process. How can we give any weight to it?” Gafoor told Minivan News.

The MDP has raised concerns over the committee’s composition. The CNI is chaired by former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom’s Defence Minister Ismail Shafeeu. The MDP has also called for strong international presence on the commission.

The EU, Commonwealth, India, UK and the US have called for an impartial investigation.

Dr Waheed Hassan told local television station Villa TV (VTV) he would resign and reinstate ousted President Nasheed if the CNI established the February 7 transfer of power to be illegitimate.