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MMC request authorities to not obstruct journalistic duties

Shahudha Mohamed
29 July 2020, MVT 16:59
Officers and protesters mid-clash during the opposition's demonstration held on July 28. Maldives Media Council requested authorities to not obstruct journalists from carrying out their duties during protests. PHOTO: AHMED AWSHAN ILYAS/ MIHAARU
Shahudha Mohamed
29 July 2020, MVT 16:59

Maldives Media Council (MMC), on Monday, released a statement declaring that the council will not accept state authorities and other institutions obstructing journalists in carrying out their duties.

The statement read that MMC is legally mandated with ensuring that all media outlets and the journalists representing them are given equal and unbiased opportunities to carry out their responsibilities.

MMC noted that journalists recently faced difficulties in covering assemblies, protests and other incidents in Maldives, such as the demonstration held by the opposition alliance on July 26 and the expatriate workers' riots on Bodufinolhu, Baa Atoll.

MMC stated that the commission received complaints that Maldives Police Service moved the journalists covering the opposition's protest away from the scene of action, in addition to other obstructions which hindered proper coverage of the protest.

Regarding this incident, the council referred to Article (e) of Section 43 of the Freedom of Peaceful Assembly Act, which states that police cannot order the obstruction of media, even during an ongoing protest.

MMC also highlighted that police had not provided equal opportunities to all media outlets in reporting the riots at Bodufinolhu.

In light of the aforementioned occurrences, the Media Council reiterated its request for all relevant authorities to make arrangements in such a way that it does not obstruct journalists from carrying out their duty.

Concluding the statement, MMC also reminded journalists to operate within the rights granted by law, and carry the press card issued by Maldives Broadcasting Commission (Broadcom) when covering protests and assemblies.

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