The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) joins its affiliate the Maldives Journalists Association (MJA) in condemning threats made to several journalists on Thursday, October 15 in the capital Male. The IFJ demand an immediate investigation into the threats and those responsible to be brought to justice.
According to reports, a group of young men threatened several journalists who had camped outside President Abdulla Yameen’s residence waiting to film the departure of Criminal Court Chief Judge Abdulla Mohamed. Two of the journalists told opposition-aligned Raajje TV’s Wisam Mohamed that they would kill them if they filmed Judge Mohamed’s departure from the president’s residence. Wisam also said that soldiers had earlier asked him to erase photos he had taken which he refused.
The young men surrounded four of the journalists, while MP Ahmed Assad from the Progressive Party of the Maldives, physically blocked their view of the residence’s door as the judge left the building and got into a waiting car.
Wisam said: “Two of them came right up to me, and told me they will kill me, that if I filmed Judge’s departure from President’s house. They surrounded me until the Judge left.” Sun Online’s Adam Nazeer, who was also present at the scene, wrote: “The group threatened and warned the journalists. They said they would destroy our cameras if we filmed.”
According to the Maldives Independent, the chief judge’s visit comes at a time of heightened anxiety with an investigation underway into an alleged assassination attempt on the president’s speedboat on September 28. Yameen escaped unhurt from the explosion on the boat, but the first lady remains hospitalized.
The IFJ said: “The IFJ condemns the threats made to a group of journalists and the obstacle created to them for simply doing their jobs. The IFJ reminds the Maldives government that journalists have the constitutional right to freedom of expression and opinion, and the right to report freely in matters not explicitly restricted by the laws. We therefore urge the government to investigate the matters and hopes that such incident will not repeat.”
For further information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific on +61 2 9333 0946
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