Malé, Maldives – Maldives Police Service has stated that from the 5th of March 2021, only ‘accredited’ reporters would be allowed inside areas cordoned off by Police during gatherings.
Police said as per the “Regulation on Accreditation of Journalists Covering Gatherings/Protests”, only accredited journalists would be allowed to enter and report from restricted areas.
They also advised all attending reporters to wear the card of accreditation provided by the Maldives Broadcasting Commission when attending gatherings/protests.
While the announcement was made is likely targeting the coverage of tomorrows ‘mega’ protest by PPM/ PNC coalition in Malé City as suggested by some journalists, Maldives Police Service has been pointed out to have recently been reluctant in passing information to media in a timely manner.
The unjustified behavior towards the journalists in Maldives has resulted in several reporters and journalists from different outlets to protest in front of the Maldives Media Council (MMC) and the Maldives Broadcasting Commission (MBC) for the obstructive actions and physical harm Police is causing to the journalist without a valid reason.
Recently, a reporter of the Channel 13 was injured due to the police while they were attempting to cover a protest that was held by the opposition coalition against the government. The reporter later received treatment for the sustained injuries.
In addition to this, anogther reporter of the same channel was forcefully taken out of a cafe’ in Male’ city and was later arrested by the Police. Police claimed that they did not know that the individual was a journalist and that he was released upon the discovery – something which has been refuted after video footage surfaced that the reporter was donning a press card even at the time of arrest.
Despite the announcement by Police, most independent journalists and reporters of online news outlets do not broadcast and hence, do not fall under Broadcom juridiction, but rather fall under Maldives Media Council (MMC).