Maldives warns action against broadcasting unlawful rallies

Police break up opposition rally in front of MDP main hub. PHOTO: HUSSAIN WAHEED/MIHAARU

Police break up opposition rally in front of MDP main hub. PHOTO: HUSSAIN WAHEED/MIHAARU

Maldives Broadcasting Commission on Sunday warned of legal action against live broadcasts of protests and rallies that violate the Freedom of Peaceful Assembly Act.

The commission made the declaration ahead of a major rally organised by the opposition coalition for Monday. The law prohibits live broadcasts of any rallies or protests that are in violation of the Act.

In a circular, the Broadcasting Commission warned that broadcasters will be held responsible for any laws broken by airing or promoting rallies or protests that are held without explicit permission from Maldives Police Service.

The circular stated that the commission has been receiving complaints of certain media outlets that broadcast content that could incite dispute or promote overthrowing the lawfully elected administration amidst the current political tensions in the nation. The commission described such content as defamatory to certain state institutions or designed to incite hatred and distrust among the public for the institutions.

The opposition has issued a nationwide invitation for citizens to participate in the mass rally scheduled for Monday. However, Police have declared that permission will not be granted for any entities to hold rallies or protests in Male.

In response, former President Mohamed Nasheed tweeted Sunday that right to assembly is not accorded by any state institutions but by the Constitution. He urged the people to take part in the rally.

Meanwhile, the opposition has declared that the rally is aimed to ensure Separation of Powers again.

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