DhiTV editor criticised at Parliament’s Privileges Committee

Editor and News Head of DhiTV Midhath Adam has been heavily criticised at the Parliament’s Privileges Committee following accusations of defamation.

Midhath faced accusations from multiple MPs in a case filed by Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) Chairperson and Hulhu-Henveiru MP Reeko Moosa Manik, accusing DhiTV of defaming his business and family.

At the committee meeting held today, Kaashidhoo MP Abdullah Jabir further accused DhiTV of broadcasting stories that were shaped to attack him personally.

Jabir claimed that DhiTV spreads information to win government support, twists news and is used to facilitate expansion of the business activities of the Champa family.

DhiTV is mostly owned by Champa Mohamed Moosa, a major businessman and resort owner in the Maldives.

In response to Jabir’s accusations, Midhath denied that DhiTV spun news stories or reports on speeches from members of parliament. He further added that he attended the committee meeting as the editor of DhiTV, and not a representative of any family.

Further accusations came from Mahchangolhi-south MP Mohamed Rasheed, who accused DhiTV of acting against media standards and working against the parliament.

He used an example of DhiTV playing Hindi music whilst videoing the actions MPs of MDP on parliament opening day.

In response, Midhath said that it was possible that such a video was shown by a group given DhiTV On-Air time, adding that the video was not prepared by DhiTV.

Maafannu-north MP Imthiyaz Fahmy accused DhiTV of spinning MP’s statements, adding that the practice of editing MP’s speeches before broadcasting goes against the agreement made between the parliament and broadcasting stations.

Committee Chairman Mathiveri MP Hussain Mohamed asked Midhath whether DhiTV “spin” or slant” stories before broadcasting, and if they have a policy on broadcasting biased news.

Midhath said that DhiTV never followed any policy to spin or slant news stories. He further stressed that they never dubbed speeches made by MPs before broadcasting.

When Imthiyaz Fahmy proposed to obtain the copies of DhiTV’s news stories related to Manik’s case, Midhath said that the stories in question may no longer be available as they were broadcast in 2010.

Midhath added that regulations stipulate on-air material should be saved for two months, after which important recordings are archived.

The case filed by Reeko Moosa Manik states that DhiTV damaged the reputation of his business, and also ruined the reputation and honour of his family. It also states that speeches made about Moosa by Gemanafushi MP Ilham Ahmed and Thoddoo MP Ali Waheed at the Parliament in November 2010, were edited and broadcast by DhiTV.

Jabir proposed to summon the Board of DhiTV to the Committee. The Committee Chairman said that voting on this proposition will be conducted at the next Committee meeting.