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Employee fired over 'defamation' of President, Parliament Speaker

Ahmed Aiham
04 June 2020, MVT 19:42
President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih (C), First Lady Fazna Ahmed and Parliament Speaker Mohamed Nasheed (L) arriving at the parliament. PHOTO: NISHAN ALI/MIHAARU
Ahmed Aiham
04 June 2020, MVT 19:42

An employee of Hithadhoo Port Limited (HPL) was terminated on Wednesday, over allegedly repeated defamatory statements against President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih and Speaker of Parliament Mohamed Nasheed.

The termination came at a time when both President Solih and Speaker Nasheed have maintained that no civil servant faces the fear of losing their jobs for criticising the government.

According to the first letter signed by Maldives Port Limted (MPL)'s Managing Director Shahid Ali, HPL stated that the employee had previously been warned over the defamatory statements on social media platforms. Due to an issue with the phrasing, the first letter was recalled.

In the first warning issued on December 1, 2019, the employee was advised to not repeat their statements against President Solih and Speaker Nasheed. However, in the second letter to the employee, there was no mention of the two senior representatives. MPL stated that the first letter was retracted due to the specified mention of the individuals.

As per the second letter, the employee was found to have violated the company's 'Code of Conduct Policy. The individual has worked for HPL since 2014.

Parliament's Judiciary Committee's Chairperson and Maffannu North MP Imthiyaz Fahmy said the issue, once submitted to the Employment Tribunal, will be closely monitored.

Former Hithadhoo South MP Ali Nizar also called on President Solih, expressing concerns over the matter. He stated that the president would inquire into the termination.

In 2018, President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih ratified the bill to repeal the Freedom of Speech and Defamation Act, which was passed during former President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom's tenure. Under the Defamation Act, several actions were taken against local media groups, notably 'Raajje TV' which was fined fives times and had to pay a total of MVR 3.7 million.

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