The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) joins the Maldives Journalists Association (MJA) in condemning the defamation case against five journalists and a media group in Male, Maldives. The IFJ urges the complainant to drop the charges immediately.
Islamic preacher Sheikh Nasrullah Musthafa lodged a defamation case against five journalists of Mihaaru daily and the media group VMedia over news reports.
The stories referred to the preacher’s arrest for illegally sending four individuals on Hajj pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia in November 2017.
The court ordered the preacher’s release a day after his arrest, but charged him for sending four people to pilgrimage without permission or proper arrangements.
The 5 reporters from Vnews and Mihaaru were summoned to court for a dispute resolution hearing on defamation charges.
IFJ President Philippe Leruth said: "The IFJ expresses serious concerns over the defamation case filed against our five colleagues in the Maldives. It reiterates its concerns over the country’s Anti-Defamation Act which contains provisions that are in breach of international standards. Journalists must be able to work freely without any form of pressure. Defamation should not be criminalized. The IFJ urges the authorities to drop the charges against the journalists and VMedia."