Gang thugs text murder threats to 15 journalists in the Maldives

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and its affiliate the Maldives Journalists Association (MJA) strongly condemns death threats issued to 15 journalists on August 2 directly attributed to their journalistic activities.

According to the MJA, 15 journalists received murder threats via text message, warning them against reporting on gangs in the wake of street violence, which has seen at least one death and nine people injured.

“[We] will kill you if you keep writing inappropriate articles about gangs in the media,” the message from an unlisted number read, according to Minivan News.

Those receiving death threats are journalists from Haveeru, Raajje TV, Maldives Broadcasting Corporation (MBC), VTV, Sun Online, and Vaguthu.

MJA president Ahmed Hiriga Zahir said: “It is still unclear who are behind these texts, or how they are sending it. Regardless, we don’t take this as a simple matter. We have requested the police to look in to this.”

A spokesperson of the Maldives Police Service condemned the threats and said police were investigating the case.

The IFJ acting director, Jane Worthington, said: “Threats to journalists are a means to instil fear so journalists feel they cannot report safely. The IFJ strongly condemns any such threats and we call on members of the Maldives media to stand up against such attempts to silence their reporting and always report threats to authorities.”

Journalists in the Maldives have been receiving threats from criminal gangs, politicians and religious extremists with concerning regularity over a long period.

“It’s a very concerning issue as it diminishes the media’s role to serve democracy and society,” Jane Worthington said.

“We urge the Maldivian government to immediately investigate this swag of threats, punish the perpetrators and provide the necessary security to the journalists involved.”