Joint statement: Civil society organizations renew calls to end impunity for crimes against journalists in Maldives
The signatories expressed concern that the criminal court recently dropped charges against the accused in the murders of journalist Ahmed Rilwan and blogger Yameen Rasheed.
Critics warn that the proposed amendment will restrict journalists’ ability to cover elections, which will undermine the public’s fundamental right to information.
Police officers assaulted two journalists who were covering protests near the country’s parliament.
The government did not carry out promised reforms to the Freedom of Assembly Act; police harassed and threatened journalists covering protests.
A new report from Human Rights Watch noted that the government of Maldives President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih has not fulfilled election promises to reform the criminal justice system to address threats to free expression.
The proposed Evidence Bill, if passed into law, would allow courts to compel journalists and media outlets in Maldives to reveal their sources.
Entitled ‘Chasing Justice. Study on impunity for crimes against journalists’, the report looks into the violence and threats faced by Maldivian journalists.
The Maldives Journalists Association is concerned that the parliamentary committee, which has the power to summon and question members of the Maldives Media Council, became directly involved as a complainant in an investigation overseen by the Council.
According to Human Rights Watch, authorities in Maldives cracked down on foreign workers protesting wage abuses that escalated during COVID-19 lockdowns.
The Home Affairs Ministry declared that street protests and marches could only be held with prior written approval from the police. In addition, the Youth, Sports and Community Empowerment Ministry stated that nongovernmental organizations should not support “actions that are detrimental to national security and national interests.”
A temporary shut down order was issued by the Maldives government against the Maldivian Democracy Network for a 2015 report that allegedly ‘insulted’ religion.
Rilwan was killed for his writing about alleged Al-Qaeda links in the Maldives and his advocacy for freedom of expression.
A new presidential commission in Maldives is investigating the abduction of Ahmed Rilwan Abdulla and the murder of Yameen Rasheed.