M.U.M begins campaign to end unlawful employment of foreign musicians

Virtual meeting with local musicians | Photo: Musicians' Union of Maldives

Malé, Maldives – Musicians Union of Maldives (M.U.M) has commenced a campaign raising concern and requesting the government to take legal action against establishments employing foreign musicians to perform unlawfully in the Maldives.

Musicians Union stated that Covid-19 pandemic has had a devastating impact on the music industry in Maldives, local artists who rely heavily on performing at tourist resorts as their main source of income had no means of earning a living in their industry when the borders closed in March 2020 amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

When the borders reopened in June 2020, local artists were only offered a glimpse of hope which was quick to fade as many of the potential prospects of work that could have been for local artists were granted to foreign artists instead.

The Union has said that despite the shattering effect of the pandemic on an already fragile sector, some resort establishments have disregarded the impact it has had on local artists and, rather than providing them with opportunities, have chosen to marginalise the local musicians’ community by openly recruiting foreign artists to perform at high-end resorts even while the law prohibits it under Regulation No. R-62/2020, of the Employment Act 2/2008.

Musicians Union of Maldives also added that they have worked extremely hard on bringing this issue to light and that numerous meetings have been conducted on raising this concern and letters have been sent to the relevant bodies. Several attempts have been made by members of the Union and other local artists on different social media platforms to bring this issue to the attention of the responsible authorities.

Although there have been blatant violations of regulations, authorities and law enforcement agencies have overlooked this issue completely with no action taken against these atrocities.

Recently, on the 17th of February letters were sent to the Labour Relations Authority, Ministry of Tourism, Ministry of Youth, Sports and Community Empowerment, Ministry of Arts, Culture and Heritage, Maldives Immigration and Ministry of Economic Development with the consultation of lawyers as a means of raising concern on the issue. Authorities were informed of the ongoing illicit activity and requests were made to hold them accountable.

The Union also stated that while they welcome foreign artists, that it should not be at the cost of local artists who are already struggling to earn an income. The Union strongly condemned the mistreatment of local artists and urges law enforcement agencies to act on the violations made by these resort establishments, further adding that it values the talents of local artists and will continue to advocate for their rights.