Maldives Media Council (MMC) calls to remove the article which could force journalists to reveal their sources in the Evidence Bill submitted by the government to the parliament.
MMC said on Wednesday that if the bill is passed with that article in it, it is infringing on the rights guaranteed for journalists in the Maldivian Constitution. In their press release, they also said this would lead to misuse of the law as well.
"Maldives Media Council believes if the bill is passed as it is, the rights guaranteed by the constitution will be infringed upon, and it will lead to misuse. This is a concerning matter for the council," MMC said.
The council also said this would lead to a drop in the successes Maldives has been achieving in terms of press freedom. According to MMC, it would drop Maldives' ranking in the Press Freedom Index and may lead to obstacles from the international community as well.
The council provided the Defamation Act that was implemented in former President Abdulla Yameen's administration.
MMC plans to meet the parliamentary committees to discuss this matter further.
Article 136 of the Evidence Bill states that if revealing sources will have a greater impact on society than the dangers the sources may face after the reveal, a journalist would be required to reveal their sources.
This article also empowers the judge to force the journalist and the media they work for to reveal their sources.
Editor's Guild of Maldives also released a press release on Wednesday evening against Article 136 of the Evidence Act. They said if it is passed as it is it would lead to sources being reluctant to report on corruption.
They also said in empowering judges to force journalists and the companies they work for to reveal their sources would lead to a decrease in media freedom in the nation.
This is against the accepted practices in democratic societies, they said. They too reiterated this is against the rights guaranteed by the Constitution of Maldives to journalists.