Private channels are run with “ill-gotten” money, claims Moosa

Parliamentary Group Leader of the Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) Moosa ‘Reeko’ Manik, has claimed that private broadcasting channels in the Maldives are operated with “ill-gotten” money.

“These TV channels misuse freedom of media to assassinate the characters of political figures whose minds do not coincide with theirs,’’ alleged Moosa.

Moosa criticised the country’s private channels for “never speaking about anything done right by the current government.”

“Everything we do: these TV channels will talk about it wrongly as if it was bad for the people,’’ Moosa claimed.

“Even though we construct a mosque on an island, they will speak about it as if it was not good for the people,” he said.

Moosa accused Villa TV (VTV), owned by leader of the minority opposition Jumhoree Party (JP) Gasim ‘Buruma’ Ibrahim, and DhiTV, owned by Hassan ‘Champa’ Afeef, of misleading people by hiding all the development projects conducted by the government. The announcers of the channels “who cooperate with these organisations should be ashamed to do so,” he claimed.

“Freedom of expression is not only for the benefit of the media – if the media is falling from the right path, people have the right to express opinions against the media,’’ Moosa said.

Editor of DhiTV, Midhath Adam, said that Moosa’s remarks were obviously aimed at the owners of VTV and DhiTV.

‘’If Moosa was referring to the DhiTV news, that technically means he is attempting to narrow freedom of expression,” Midhath said.

“Whether Moosa likes it or not, we have to broadcast the different opinions and ideas of different people,’’ he said. “Anyway, this is just Moosa’s point of view. We can digest criticism and we are not outraged because of these comments,’’ he said.

In a press statement last week, the Maldives Journalists Association “strongly condemned” remarks made by Moosa on August 17, when the MP publicly threatened “action” against VTV for “repeatedly misleading and broadcasting news in a way that smears respect for MDP”.

“MJA also sad to note that a senior official of MDP – a party known for voicing free media – has repeatedly slated the media… and incited public hatred against journalism,” the MJA said.

In a retaliatory statement, Moosa claimed “some TV stations were established with the intention to cause civil unrest among the citizens, smear the respect of political figures in the country, and bother their personal life.”

“I am astonished that the MJA is silent about this matter,” he said, adding that the fact media were airing such claims was evidence that media freedom existed.


DRP claims MDP influencing Elections Commission

The Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party (DRP) has accused the Elections Commission (EC) of failing to register members who have shifted to the DRP from the Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP).

Mohamed Hussain ‘Mundhu’ Shareef, spokesman for the former president and DRP member in charge of the Noonu atoll branch, said he noticed the problem when 66 newly-joined DRP members from the island of Miladhoo in Noonu Atoll failed to appear on a list from the EC.

”As soon as we figured out these people were missing from the EC list, we scanned it to see whether people from other atolls were missing as well,” he said.

That recount revealed many more DRP members from Haa Alifu Atoll and Gaafu Aalifu Atoll missing from the list, Mundhu claimed.

“People who shifted from Adhaalath party and Qaumeee party were in the list, but those who came from MDP were not there,” he said, accusing the MDP of influencing the EC.

He said that the DRP had sent a letter to the EC two weeks ago to clarify why the people were missing from the list “but they have not responded.”

President of Elections Commission Fuad Thaufeeq said the claims made by the DRP that members were missing from the list were untrue.

He said that by law people could only be members of one political party, “and sometimes when people try to join a party without resigning from another registered party, we will not register them.”

Thaufeeq furthermore stressed that the commission was working independently ”and nobody can influence us.”

Spokesman for MDP Ahmed Haleem said the EC was an independent institution and accused the DRP “of inventing a new story about MDP everyday”

”They spread these type of rumours just to gain popularity,” he said. “They can’t get famous without saying something against us,” he said.

DRP MP Ahmed Mahloof said he had heard no information about the issue while MDP MP Moosa ‘Reeko’ Manik claimed “nobody from MDP would resign to join DRP.”

”The EC works independently; it was elected by the parliament,” Moosa said. “They were elected not only by the vote of MDP MPs but DRP MPs voted for them as well.”