Vice President Faisal Naseem on Sunday declared that free press is a fundamental building block to achieving true democracy.
He made the statement at the Journalism Awards Ceremony 2018 organised by the Maldives Media Council.
Speaking at the event held at Dharubaaruge convention centre, Vice President Naseem affirmed that the role of the people is to hold the government accountable as they elect their representatives to serve them in a democracy.
In this regard, VP Naseem said that a democratic nation must have the right to free press so that journalists may cater to this need by representing the concerns of the public.
He further noted that not a single complaint has been filed against a journalist since the incumbent administration won the democratic elections in 2018. He also noted the government has heard the concerns and obstacles faced by journalists.
Highlighting the many instances and incidences in the past, the Vice President stated that journalists previously lived in fear in the past and were subject to constant attack.
Moreover, he iterated that this administration understands the importance of press freedom to a democratic society, stating that governments benefit from independent journalism and that the current administration will heed constructive criticism from journalists and strive forward through reform.
The Vice President reassured that the government will continue to promote and support independent journalism and free press.
Furthermore, he stated that the government aims to put forth several policies redefining press freedom before the end of 2021, including a proposal to establish a national press club, and amendments to the Public Service Media Act and Maldives Broadcasting Commission Act.
VP Naseem added that the government will facilitate human resource development and training in areas of journalism. He added that the administration plans to better facilitate student loans and scholarships in the field of journalism, and noted that the government envisions a more prosperous future for media in the coming years.
During the event, Vice President Faisal Naseem gave away top awards to the most distinguished recipients among the nominated journalists for the year 2018.