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President’s Office drags major media to council over defamation

Fathmath Shaahunaz
22 May 2017, MVT 12:45
Reporters and journalists at a protest against the persecution of media and press in 2016. PHOTO/MIHAARU
Fathmath Shaahunaz
22 May 2017, MVT 12:45

The President’s Office has filed cases against some major local media at Maldives Media Council (MMC) under the Defamation and Freedom of Speech Act.

Mihaaru understands that the President’s Office has so far submitted motions against Mihaaru, local television channel Raajje TV’s website raajje.mv, VFP, Vaguthu and Maldives Independent.

MMC has already issued a seven day period for Raajje TV to respond to the motion filed against six of its journalists. The motion filed by the Chief Communications Officer of the President’s Office accuse raajje.mv of publishing defamatory content regarding First Lady Fathimath Ibrahim.

The council’s President Abdul Mueed Hassan confirmed that the President’s Office has filed cases against several media but declined to provide additional details. The council stated that information will be disclosed upon written request as per regulations.

The parliament passed the Defamation and Freedom of Speech Act last year August which gives authorities to impose heavy fines on media outlets and journalists that post or broadcast “defamatory” content. The Act states that the fines cannot be appealed prior to settling the penalties and failure to do so will result in jail sentences.

Maldives Broadcasting Commission had previously fined Raajje TV twice under this Act. Raajje TV settled both penalties with generous funds and aid from the public.

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