Parliament is not attempting to hinder the freedom of press: Meekail

MP of North Galolhu Constituency Meekail Ahmed Naseem | photo: Avas

Male’, Maldives — MP for South Galolhu constituency, Meekail Ahmed Naseem has stated that the parliament is not attempting to hinder the freedom of press.

The statement from MP Meekail comes while debating that a detailed matter relating to the protection of Speaker of Parliament, Mohamed Nasheed. MP Meekail stated that while information about the security of Speaker Nasheed has been leaked, there are people attempting to twist the issue.

MP Meekail stated these people are also falsely accusing and spreading the wrong mentality that the parliament or the parliament’s committees are attempting to hinder the freedom of the press.

We are not trying to hinder the freedom of press at all. Nor is anyone forcing the press to reveal the source of their information.

MP Meekail Ahmed Naseem

MP Mikail cleared out that they are concerned about this matter because the defence has been ineffectual and that there are talks that risk the safety of certain people’s lives.

Stating that this matter should be properly investigated, MP Mikail stated that the authorities must find out which MNDF member leaked the information to the press and take strict actions against them such as firing them from their position in MNDF.

“Mihaaru” news published a controversial article with the headline “MNDF informed Nasheed that security cannot be provided for Kenereege” providing certain security details about former President including current Speaker Mohamed Nasheed’s home and MNDF security protocols on 28 May 2021.

Following this, the 241 committee released a statement saying that the details in the news article are only provided to a specific few individuals in the defense force and is a breach in security of Speaker Nasheed and his family residing at the location.

Article 24 of the Armed Forces Act 2008 (Act No. 1/2008) prohibits the sharing of confidential information except with specific individuals as stated by the law, and in circumstances where this is not followed, the individuals may be prosecuted under the Maldives Penal Code (Law No. 6/2015). As such the committee decided to investigate the matter.

Maldives Media Council (MMC) released a statement on 30 May, saying that the freedom to journalism is a right provided by the Constitution of Maldives and that no authority can force anyone to reveal their informant behind certain information. Maldives Journalist Association (MJA) has also released a press statement sharing their concern about such an investigation which may impede on the right of media to protect its sources.

MMC stated that they have contacted the Chairperson of the Parliamentary Committee on National Security and MP of Addu North Consistency Mohamed Aslam and has confirmed that neither the journalist nor the informant behind the report will be investigated.