Media Release: The Maldives
March 11, 2013
Journalists Association (MJA) an affiliate of the International Federation of
Journalists (IFJ) and partner in the South Asia Media Solidarity Network
(SAMSN), is seeking the invalidation of certain clauses of the Parliamentary
Privileges Act and will make its case before the High Court of the Maldives on
The MJA believes that section 17(a) and 18(b) of the Act, passed
by the Maldivian parliament, or Majlis, overriding a presidential veto, could
contravene constitutional guarantees on press freedom.
Section 17(a) of the
act empowers Parliament or one of its committees to summon anyone to “give
witness or to hand over any information” of interest. Section 18 (b) states
that any person who does not answer questions after being summoned by a parliament
committee would be deemed to be in breach of privilege, and be sentenced to six
months in prison or fined between MVR (Maldivian rufiaa) 1,000 (aproximately
USD 65) and 3,000 (USD 195).
Under article 28 of
the Maldives constitution every citizen enjoys the right to freedom of speech
and expression and nobody “shall be compelled to disclose the source of any
information that is espoused, disseminated or published by that person.”
The MJA has
petitioned the High Court of the Maldives to hold the two specific articles of
the Parliamentary Privileges Act invalid on the grounds that it could lead to
the violation of this salutary provision of the constitution.
The IFJ extends its
support to the MJA in its effort to prevent the dilution of the fundamental
right to free speech.
further information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific on +612 9333 0919
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