Broadcasting Commission of Maldives (Broadcom) announced on Thursday that veteran television anchor Mariyam Waheeda was appointed as the commission's President, while ruling Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) activist Ahmed Gais was appointed as the Vice President.
In addition, former journalist Ali Yoosuf, with over 18 years of experience working in Raajje TV and Haveeru News, was also appointed as a member of the commission. Prior to these appointments, the only members in Broadcom were Zeena Zahir, Aminath Sahaarath Izzath and Amjad Waheed.
The three new appointments were approved by the Parliament on Tuesday. Mariyam Waheeda and Ahmed Gais both received 66 votes while Ali Yoosuf received 64.
Having worked over 20 years in the field, the commission's new President Mariyam Waheeda is a prominent media figure. She is also a board member of Public Service Media (PSM) and worked in Television Maldives (TVM) for a considerable number of years. Mariyam Waheeda is currently the Honourary Consul from Maldives to Sweden.
However, Gais, who was appointed as the new Vice President, has no record of ever having worked in the media field. He leads MDP activities in Thinadhoo, Gaafu Dhaalu Atoll, and was elected for the atoll's council as well.
The government received public criticism for appointing a political party activist for a top position in an independent institution, but has yet to make any comments on the matter.
Broadcom appointed new members to fill the vacancies left in the commission after recent activities led to the resignation of Broadcom's former President Mohamed Shaheeb.
Broadcom members Ismail Sofwan and Hassan Nabaah also resigned when the Parliament's Committee on Independent Institutions moved to dismiss them, following a probe into questionable activities by the commission.
The Parliament further voted to sack the commission's Vice President Fathimath Zaina, reducing the number of Broadcom's members to three.
Upon making the announcement, the commission received a total of 36 applications for the two vacant member posts, while three candidates applied for the position of Vice President.
The initial list presented to President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih contained the names of Sangu TV's presenter Shifla Ibrahim, Mohamed Hilmy, Gais and Ali Yoosuf, in that order.
After vetting the suggested candidates, the Committee on Independent Institutions forwarded a total of 12 names to the Parliament floor including Ali Yoosuf, Shifla and Gais.
The committee did not forward the names of any applicants for the Vice President's position to the parliament floor. Instead, the committee decided to reopen applications for the post, a decision which was approved by the Parliament.
However, Gais was appointed for the position without reopening applications.