Press Statement

Maldives: Media houses face arson threats

05 May, 2024

Independent media outlets RaajjeTV and Channel 13 were victims of threats against their operations, with RaajjeTV seeking police protection. The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and its affiliate, the Maldives Journalists Association (MJA) condemn the threats against the outlets and call for a thorough and transparent investigation into the incident.

On April 28, an anonymous individual posted a comment on the social media platform Instagram threatening to set the offices of independent news outlet RaajjeTV ablaze and end its operations, with comments also targeting Senior Video Journalist Laisa Ahmed. In response, the news outlet has referred an official complaint to the Maldives Police Service (MPS), calling for an official investigation and protection measures for the station and its media workers.

Independent broadcaster Channel 13 also faced threats, with a Facebook comment on an article threatening that the outlet would not be ‘given the opportunity to spread discord’ through its operations.

On May 1, the MPS announced that an investigation into the comments had commenced and that the nature of the threats would result in a prioritised investigation. The President’s Office strongly condemned the threats, gave assurances to the media to address the complaints, and reiterated their commitment to protect the media in upholding Press Freedom.

In 2013, the Male office of RaajjeTV was targeted in an arson attack, with six masked men storming the outlet’s offices, setting fire to equipment, and assaulting a security guard. Only one person has been convicted in relation to the attack in the eleven years since the attack, with the other five escaping with impunity.

The MJA said: “The MJA strongly condemns threats of arson against private broadcasters RaajjeTV and Channel 13. MJA calls on authorities to immediately and urgently investigate the threats. The MJA also reminds all state actors and government agencies of their unconditional duty to protect journalists and media institutions.These threats further erode the working environment for journalists, enabling a fearful atmosphere that continues unabated due to the widespread impunity for crimes against journalists.”

The IFJ said: “The IFJ condemns threats against broadcasters Raajjee TV and Channel 13. Threats against any news outlet must be taken seriously, with appropriate protection provided for media outlets, journalists and media workers. Authorities must take initiative and conduct a thorough and immediate investigation to ensure that those responsible do not escape with impunity.”

Written By

IFJ Asia-Pacific IFJ Asia-Pacific

The IFJ represents more than 600,000 journalists in 140 countries.
For further information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific on +61 2 9333 0946
Find the IFJ on Twitter: @ifjasiapacific
Find the IFJ on Facebook: