Male’, Maldives – Minister of Foreign Affairs, Abdulla Shahid, delivered a pre-recorded video statement at the Ministerial Roundtable on the Safety of Journalists on the margins of the World Press Freedom Conference 2020.
Beginning his statement, Minister Shahid thanked the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands, His Excellency Stef Blok, for hosting this event which Shahid described as a “topic that holds great importance to the Government of Maldives”
Minister Shahid emphasized the crucial role played by the free press in connecting a diverse and polarized world through continuous discourse and expressed his concern over the repercussions faced by journalists globally as agents of vibrant and free press, in holding governments accountable and when upholding democratic ideals.
He also attributed the end of impunity and repression against journalists in the Maldives and the progress achieved in the field of press freedom, to the abolition of the Anti-Defamation Act of 2016, when President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih assumed office in 2018.
Shahid added that the establishment of the Presidential Commission on Murder and Enforced Disappearances and the re-constitution of the Maldives Broadcasting Commission, was another notable initiative of Presdient Solih’s administration.
“The Commission on Investigation of Murders and Enforced Disappearances established by presidential decree is a testament of our resolve to find justice for the journalist Mr. Ahmed Rilwan, whose enforced disappearance shook the nation with grief” He said.
Minister Shahid reiterated that freedom of speech and expression is a fundamental human right recognized throughout the course of history, adding that “Our presence here today to defend this very right is a symbolic reminder that the answer to any human dilemma lies within unity and dialogue,”
Concluding his remarks, Minister Shahid expressed his gratitude to the press covering the event, who would be conveying his words to millions around the world.
The event, hosted by the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands Stef Blok produced an outcome document – The Hague Commitment – that emphasized on the need to address the importance of the safety of journalists and media workers.