Opposition lawmakers on Wednesday slated Maldives Broadcasting Commission (MBC) after its warning to broadcasters over airing live feeds of parliament sittings uploaded by MPs to social media.
MBC on Monday had stated that content from MPs’ social media live feeds of parliament sessions often feature vulgar language, and content that are defamatory or in violation of socially accepted standards of discipline and behaviour. Declaring that they infringe the code of practice in broadcasting, the commission had called on broadcasters to take caution in airing live feeds from social media. It also urged television channels to adhere only to the official live feed of the parliament.
Opposition MPs criticized MBC’s warning and raised concerns, declaring that the commission is now in the clasp of the government.
Speaking to Mihaaru, spokesperson of the opposition coalition and Galolhu South MP Ahmed Mahloof stated that all parliament proceedings must be accessible for general public viewing. One of the lawmakers most notable for uploading live feeds of parliament sittings on social media, Mahloof said that MBC’s statement was a “threat” to television stations.
He harshly criticized the commission’s President Ahmed Shaheeb and called on MBC to conform to the law, warning that it always catches up to the unlawful.
“At most, they can close down TV stations for airing [live feeds on social media]. But the people will certainly go on Facebook to see what is happening in the parliament,” he said.
Another parliamentarian to upload live feeds of parliament sessions on social media, Addu Meedhoo MP Rozaina Adam echoed MP Mahloof’s sentiments, asserting that any parliament sitting that is not held behind closed doors must be accessible for public viewing.
She went on to sardonically ask how regulations on broadcasting can have any standing at a time when parliament sessions are conducted in violation of the Constitution and parliamentary regulations. Acknowledging the chaotic atmospheres of the latest sittings, MP Rozaina asserted that parliament sessions can only proceed smoothly if they are held according to regulations.
The opposition MPs’ criticism comes coincidentally on Maldives Broadcasting Day, after MBC urged broadcasters to be cautious in what they air, warning that legal action will be taken against violators.