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Maldives AG seeks injunction on Haveeru staff media ban

Mohamed Visham
23 August 2016, MVT 15:46
The former office Maldives' oldest newspaper Haveeru.
Mohamed Visham
23 August 2016, MVT 15:46

Attorney General on Tuesday asked for an injunction on the court imposed media ban on former staff of the now defunct Haveeru newspaper as the High Court began appeal proceedings on Tuesday.

Civil Court had concluded a legal dispute over the ownership of the country’s oldest newspaper Haveeru and associated media, barring all employees of Haveeru Media Group from working at any media outlet in the country for two years.

The AG had ignored a warning of contempt action to appeal the court imposed ban.

During the first hearing on Tuesday the AG office argued that the lower court verdict was unconstitutional and amounted to forced labour.

The AG office then asked the High Court to issue an order to hold off the implementation of the lower court verdict until the appellate court rules on the case.

The three judge bench put off a decision on the order before ending Tuesday's hearing.

Meanwhile, Over 30 staff formerly employed by Haveeru had also filed an appeal of the verdict at the High Court citing that the verdict clearly violated constitutional rights.

The case had also voiced concern over the civil court’s blatant disregard to the employee contracts made with Haveeru which had no clause barring its staff from working for other media outlets.

The verdict has been widely regarded as an attempt to close the Mihaaru newspaper launched by the staff following the forced closure of Haveeru.

The two year ban on Mihaaru journalists was imposed in the final verdict of the ownership lawsuit who worked for Haveeru from February this year.

The judge invoked a maxim in Islamic jurisprudence on preventing damage to justify the ban.

He also ordered the home ministry, the broadcasting commission, and other state institutions to take action against former staff working at other media organisations within seven days upon request by the majority shareholders.

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