Malé, Maldives – Maldives Media Council (MMC) has expressed their disapproval on the media coverage of Uthuruthilafalhu (UTF) coastguard base by some news media.
MMC, which monitors the print and online media, warned the media to not generate news stories based on baseless sources.
The former Home Minister of Maldives Umar Naseer released an alleged draft of the UTF agreement between Maldives and India which was covered by the media. However, Maldives National Defence Force (MNDF) addressed the issue denying the allegations, and stating that they have never seen the leaked document before.
MNDF stated that the clauses which caused concern to the public such as UTF being used as an Indian military base with armed Indian soldiers were not existent in the actual agreement signed.
MMC reprimanded the news media saying that it is completely unacceptable for news outlets to cover issues that may affect the national security and diplomatic relations with other countries from unverified sources.
The Media Council did not elaborate on which issue they were specifically referring to; the alleged draft UTF document news coverage or the allegation by some news media that India has bribed Generals of the MNDF.
This is actually very upsetting… It is disheartening to see such allegations aimed at anyone in the nation’s defence force.Major General Shamaal
Chief of Defence Force Major General Shamaal vehemently denied these allegations stating that under no circumstance, whether political or otherwise, should such news be spread.
Every Maldivian citizen has the right to freedom of speech. However, when exercising this right, we advise the media to adhere to the laws of the Media Council and moral code.Maldives Media Council
MMC informed the media that if it is defamatory to a person’s reputation, such news must be verified. MMC condemns journalism that infringes on the nation’s religion and independence.