Action taken against media for spreading unproven news: Gender Minister

Gender Minister Aishath Mohamed Didi, photo: Sun

Malé, Maldives – Gender Minister of Maldives, Aishath Ahmed Didi stated today that action was taken against media for spreading information about the murdered child that has not been proved.

Statement from Minister Aishath comes after Ministry of Gender, Family and Social Services fined Avas Online MVR 2,000 and issue warnings against One Online, Vaguthu and Adhadhu, on Thursday over the alleged violation of child rights in their coverage of the murder of a 13-year-old boy in Malé City.

Minister Aishath gave an interview regarding the Ministry’s decision to “RaajeTv” and stated that actions against those media outlets were not taken for revealing the decease child’s name but for publicizing and writing the child’s personal information without any type of verification on articles.

Some articles from news media indirectly labeled the child using sorrowful words without any verification.

Gender Minister, Aishath Ahmed Didi

While Maldives Journalist Association condemned the decision of the Gender Ministry and the social media has been filled with concerned journalists over this decision, Minister Aishath stated that this action was not at all a step against the media, but the purpose was to entirely protect the rights of children.

Following the ministry’s arbitrary decision to act as a media regulator by using the Child Rights Protection Act (Law 19/2009) to regulate the content of media outlets and taking punitive action against media outlets, MJA stated that the ministry’s decision will have an adverse impact on press freedom in the country.

MJA also stated that while there are institutions mandated with regulating the media’s that the ministry had taken the decision without any discussions with these bodies and took the action against the media outlets.

According to MJA, the ministry had not been in touch with the outlets ahead of taking action against them, depriving them of any opportunity to respond to any alleged violations before the government stepped in to take action against them.

The association also pointed out the government’s use of its powers to directly and unilaterally act as a media regulator, without following due process, including launching an investigation and offering media outlets the opportunity to respond to the complaints against them.

MJA also called on the government to repeal the actions taken against the media outlets and to stop any and all efforts, whether direct or indirect, to influence the media regulatory processes established in law.