The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) is informed by
affiliates and partners that the Communications Authority of the Maldives (CAM)
is delaying the grant of a broadcast licence to the independent television channel
Sources inform the IFJ that Raajje TV had applied for satellite uplink
permission in mid-June and been assured that its request would be processed in
accordance with established rules. Later, the CAM pleaded that it would only be
able to grant a temporary licence for uplinking, for possibly a period of six
months. On July 1 though, the CAM informed the Raajje TV management that their
application for a satellite uplink would not be granted, ostensibly because
broadcast policies were “under review”.
The Maldives Journalists’ Association (MJA), an IFJ affiliate has
expressed its concern over the delay, citing it as a breach of the guidelines
for permitting plural sources of news and opinions for the people of the Indian
“As this statement is issued, the MJA informs us that Raajje TV has been
granted temporary uplink permission for six months”, said the IFJ Asia-Pacific.
“We welcome this development, even if it is provisional, and call for a
clear statement on the norms that will govern the use of the broadcast
spectrum, in a manner that will provide ample room for multiple voices and
Of the four TV broadcasters operating in the Maldives, one is controlled
by the Maldives National Broadcasting Corporation (MNBC), an autonomous body established
under law. Though mandated to function independently, the MNBC is believed by
opposition parties and independent journalists, to be highly biased towards the
government that came to power on February 7, after a police revolt toppled the
Of the private channels, two are owned by businessmen with known links
to the current regime, according to sources in the Maldives.
Raajje TV which is known to provide alternative news and opinions, is
currently confined to the narrow audience it can reach through cable
transmission in the capital city of Male. Satellite uplinking is key to
reaching a larger audience in the far flung archipelago.
“We urge the authorities in the Maldives to make the grant of uplinking
permissions the norm, subject only to a list, preferably small and clearly
defined, of ineligible entities”, said the IFJ Asia-Pacific.
“Rather than control information flows, the priority should be to ensure
that multiple sources of news are available to the people of the republic in
this time of political transition”.
“A review of broadcast policy cannot be the basis for denial of such
permission, since such a review in today’s world can only move towards allowing
greater diversity and competition on the air-waves and not towards restricting
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