The Edition


MMC committee urges news media to present editorial policies to authorities

Shahudha Mohamed
02 June 2020, MVT 13:10
Maldives Media Council at a press conference held on February 2019. PHOTO: MMC
Shahudha Mohamed
02 June 2020, MVT 13:10

A committee of Maldives Media Council (MMC) recommended that news media outlets submit their editorial policies to the Ministry of Home Affairs as well as the council.

The council, established to oversee national media regarding the COVID-19 coverage, stated that the editorial and discipline policies enacted by news media to perform professionally must be revised once a year based on changes to technology and the media scene.

Furthermore, they requested the documents be filed at the Home Ministry and MMC, in addition to publicising them on their respective websites for readers.

The council committee put forward a motion at MMC for the aforementioned suggestions to be implemented.

This development comes after MMC investigated the plagiarism issue of three local news outlets publishing the same article, under the names of three different journalists.

Prior to this, news media were not required to publicise or submit their editorial policies to any relevant authorities.

However, following recent events, MMC's committee also urged media to investigate violations of journalistic ethics as an administrative issue under their editorial policies, and publicise the findings along with the actions taken by the news outlet, in response to the violation.

The committee also requested that MMC encourage news outlets to publicly apologise to their readers, in any situations where such action may be required.

Despite swift responses to penalise media for stories that may be received negatively by the administration in power at the time, this marks the council's first move to act against journalists working in violation to internationally recognized ethics of the profession and highlighting best practices.

Although voices from the press, as well as the public, have repeatedly been raised in favour, the council is also yet to recognize the contribution to media by local English-writing journalists, investigative news reports, regional news outlets and the industry's ever-relevant website and app developers.

In 2019, French-based 'Reporters Without Borders' (RSF) placed Maldives on the 98th position of its 'World Press Freedom Index', an elevation of 22 ranks, as compared to the 2018 rank of 120.