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Opposition files to repeal contentious Defamation Act

Fathmath Shaahunaz
25 October 2018, MVT 16:46
Henveiru North MP Abdulla Shahid at the parliament to file a motion to repeal the Freedom of Speech and Defamation Act.
Fathmath Shaahunaz
25 October 2018, MVT 16:46

The opposition on Thursday filed a motion at the parliament to annul the contentious Freedom of Speech and Defamation Act.

The motion was filed by member of Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) and Henveiru North MP Abdulla Shahid.

Speaking to the press afterwards, Shahid declared that the Act limited several rights and freedoms accorded by the Constitution.

He stated that repealing the Act would release journalists and civilians from "chains", and assured that the parliament would be an institution that protected the rights of all in the future.

The Defamation Bill, which has been described by local media as a means to curb freedom of speech and press, was passed by the parliament with the majority of votes from ruling Progressive Part of Maldives (PPM), and ratified by President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom, in August 2016.

Under the Act, the Broadcasting Commission of Maldives has levied hefty fines against a number of media outlets on defamation accusations, notably the opposition-aligned television station Raajje TV, which settled all the fines with the help of public donations.

While the Act has been slammed for curtailing media freedom, President-Elect Ibrahim Mohamed Solih vowed during his presidential campaign to repeal the Act.

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