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Maldives: Launch of Report on Media Environment

23 October 2021.

The Centre for Law and Democracy (CLD), working in collaboration with the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and the Maldives Journalist Association (MJA), today launched an in-depth report into the situation in the Maldives facing the media and journalists, Maldives: Overview of the Environment for Media.

This report is part of a wider engagement by the three organisations to try to lever the current political will in the country, which seems to be more open to positive change, to bring laws, policies and practices affecting the media more fully into line with human rights standards.

The Maldives has fluctuated up and down quite a lot in terms of its rules and practices on freedom of expression and media freedom,” said Toby Mendel. “We are hopeful that some positive changes can be achieved at this time, and this report points the way forward in that regard.

The report starts by providing an overview of international standards on freedom of expression, alongside an analysis of Maldivian constitutional guarantees. Subsequent sections of the report focus on regulation of the media, content restrictions and transparency. Some of the key issues highlighted the report include:

    • The lack of independent of media regulatory bodies, as well as in the judiciary.
    • Prevailing impunity for murders of and attacks on journalists.
    • The need for significant structural changes in the rules on media regulation, including to abolish the 1978 Newspapers and Magazines Act, to explicitly recognise community broadcasting and to completely revise the system for blocking websites.
    • To review and introduce wide-ranging amendments to the legal restrictions on what content may be disseminated through the media and generally.
    • To introduce comprehensive privacy/data protection law.
    • To put in place measures to implement properly the otherwise strong Right to Information Act.

The report is available in English at: https://www.law-democracy.org/live/wp-content/uploads/2021/10/Maldives-Report.Final_.pdf

For further information, please contact:

Toby Mendel
Executive Director
Centre for Law and Democracy
Email: toby@law-democracy.org
+1 902 431 3688
twitter: @law_democracy

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