Journalists from several local news agencies who were active in covering last night’s protest has raised concern over a “Block the media” command issued by police commanders. This comes just a week after Reporters Without Borders (RSF) ranked Maldives at the 72nd place in the Press Freedom Index for 2021.
Amidst the protest, several journalists reported that the police were indiscriminately and violently confronting both journalists and protestors without prior warning. Serious concerns were raised by journalists after the riot police commanders were heard issuing a “Block the Media” command against the journalists covering the protest after members of the opposition legal team was recorded being arrested.
Local media “Dhivehi Channel” Journalist Mariyam Shiuna raised her concern tweeting that the Police commander issued a “Block the Media” command and the Special Operations Police followed the command.
Police commander vidhaalhuvee “Block the Media” ehenveema SO fuluhun amalu kury e command ah. pic.twitter.com/pQRk2mH1nN
— مريم شعنا (@Nannaxeev) April 27, 2021
Concerns were also raised in the Police Media group where journalists from 4 local news agencies raised their concern over the command to block and impede the media. Channel 13 Senior Video Journalist Ibrahim Saeed (Cade) stated there is no law under which the Police can issue such a command to block the media and criticized the issuance of the command.