Police investigate harassment of “Vaguthu” journalists

Police Shaheed Hussain Adam Building Photo: Ihuthishaam Mohamed (sun)

Male’, Maldives – The Maldives Police Service have launched an investigation into the continued harassment and threats received by journalists of the online news outlet “Vaguthu”

Police have revealed that after employees of Vaguthu have reported that they have been receiving various threats, police have begun an investigation, adding that until the investigation is concluded, Police will be providing protection to Vaguthu employees.

Police stated that they strongly condemn such actions against the media, assuring that investigation of such cases is prioritized and that action will be taken swiftly if warranted.

Speaking at the meeting, Minister Shahid said that a free and independent media is one of the cornerstones of a democratic and just society, that it gives a voice to the most disadvantaged and contributes to human progression.

This comes after claims by Minister of Foreign Affairs, Abdulla Shahid at various international events on journalism that after the Defamation and Freedom of Speech Act, a decree passed by the Former President Yameen’s Administration was ratified by President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih in 2018, has resulted in much more freedom to Maldivian journalists.

Minister Shahid described the period when the amendment was being followed as “a dark chapter in our history where journalists had to report in an environment surrounded by fear”, adding that the act used by the former government to harass independent media outlets and impose fines on such media.

Minister Shahid also has mentioned the recent reconstitution of the Maldives Broadcasting Commission which mandated to advise media outlets on responsible journalism rather than arbitrary penalties.

However, while not as restricted as during Yameen’s administration, numerous journalists continue to be the target of harassments politically or religiously motivated threats.