Police Interrogation of Maldives Journalists Sets Unhealthy Precedent

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ)

deplores the decision by the police in the Republic of the Maldives to

summon two journalists for interrogation after their newspaper carried news of

a pornographic video racket operating in parts of the country.



Hamdhoon and Ismail Naseer, who researched and wrote the story in the

Dhivehi-language edition of the daily Haveeru, were summoned by police

in the capital Male and asked about the sources they had used and the content

of the allegedly pornographic videos. The story published on February 22 had

reported that the pornographic material was being circulated in a blackmail

operation that had entrapped several well-known figures.


Local police

reportedly obtained a warrant on February 24 to search the offices of Haveeru.

The warrant was not executed but the two journalists responsible were called to

police premises to answer questions about their story.


The Maldives

Journalists’ Association (MJA), an IFJ affiliate, strongly protested the police

summons issued to the journalists. The protection of sources is a part of the

provisions on media freedom in the Maldives constitution.


“We are

encouraged to learn that the two journalists turned down the police demand to

name sources,” IFJ Asia-Pacific

Director Jacqueline Park said.



Republic of the Maldives

sent out a strong positive signal by including the protection of media sources

in its basic law and it is important to see that this significant legal

provision is strengthened, not weakened, in practice.


“Anonymity of sources is a necessary protection for

journalists seeking to bring evidence of wrongdoing into the public domain. It

is well understood that anonymity cannot be used as a cover for putting out

wrong or malicious information, or for the protection of anybody involved in

any felony.”


For further

information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific

on +612 9333 0919



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