President of Maldives Media Council (MMC) Hidhaayathullah, on Friday night, criticised the budget distribution between MMC and Maldives Broadcasting Commission, claiming that the council's financial situation was poor while MBC had "an unlimited budget".
Speaking at the event held in the Art Gallery by MMC on the occasion of World Press Freedom Day, Hidhaayathullah declared that the council did not "have the funds to pay the electricity bills".
However, according to him, Broadcasting Commission had "an unlimited budget".
Heavily criticising Broadcasting Commission, Hidhaayathullah emphasised that while the government was operating a commission, most of the responsibilities fell on MMC. Moreover, he accused the commission of having little to no responsibilities and challenging journalists during important situations while hiding behind a curtain.
Hidhaayathullah revealed that he had met with President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih regarding concerns about MMC and the president guaranteed that ease will be provided through the government.
MMC's president declared that journalists must be recognised, their sector and ways to help them must be researched in order to take journalism to higher levels. Moreover, he stated that providing opportunities to learn skills and guaranteeing their safety were important.
"These things are important for journalism in Maldives".
He warned that there might be a day when it is hard to retain journalists if such measures are not put into place.
Hidhaayathullah attributed Maldives' progress by 22 ranks on the Press Freedom Index released Reporters Without Borders to the President Solih's annulment of the Anti-Defamation Act.
He asserted that journalism can be responsibly carried out in Maldives as per international standards without the existence of such a law.
Furthermore, the MMC president stated that there would be no democracy in a country without free media. Despite this, he stated that this freedom was not boundless.
He stated that press freedom meant being able to report the truth to the people and conduct journalism without facing undue influence from the government or powerful figures. However, he stated that the information reported must not endanger religious unity, threaten national interests, cause unrest or deprive any individual of their guaranteed freedoms. Rather he stated that the information should strengthen the people's respect and honour.
Highlighting that there were almost 180 magazines or newspapers registered in Maldives, Hidhaayathullah revealed that there were considerable obstacles in monitoring the individual difficulties faced by each.
For example, he noted that the fact that the responsibility of registration of news outlets laid with the home ministry caused considerable difficulties.