MMC calls to remove article in Evidence Bill compelling media to disclose sources

Reporters and journalists at a protest against the persecution of media and press in 2016. | Photo: Nasrulla Solih

Malé, Maldives – The Maldives Media Council (MMC) on Wednesday released a statement urging the parliament to remove an article in the new Evidence Bill that forces media to disclose their sources.

The new Evidence Bill proposed by the government at the debate stage in the Maldives Parliament includes an article citing instances where media must disclose their informants.

The Article 136 (b) states that

The Court may compel journalists or media organization to release the sources identity in such cases where,

(a) Reveling the identity of the source causes no negative impact or minimal negative impact to the source and others.

(b) Causes minimal damage to the media’s ability to find sources for factual information

MMC states that this impedes on the freedoms provided to the press in the Maldives Consitution.

Article 28 of the Maldives Constitution states that

Everyone has the right to freedom of the press, and other means of communication, including the right to espouse, disseminate and publish news, information, views and ideas. No person shall be compelled to disclose the source of any information that is espoused, disseminated or published by that person.

MMC warned that passing the Evidence Bill with Article 136 (b) included will onstruct freedom of press in the Maldives and will cause major setbacks in the international arenas.

Following this, the media council today made the decision to meet with the relevant authorities to discuss the Evidence Bill.