President’s Office denies filing defamation claims against media

The President's Office. PHOTO/MIHAARU

The President’s Office. PHOTO/MIHAARU

The President’s Office on Monday denied filing cases at Maldives Media Council (MMC) against any journalists or media outlets for defaming First Lady Fathimath Ibrahim.

MMC has notified a number of major media outlets that the President’s Office has filed cases over content published that allegedly contain defamatory content regarding First Lady Fathimath Ibrahim. The council has ordered Mihaaru, RaajjeMV, VFP and Maldives Independent to respond to the cases.

However, the President’s Office’s spokesperson Ibrahim Muaz Ali declared in a tweet that the Office has not filed any issues against any media outlet or journalist at the MMC. He added that the President’s Office has informed MMC as such.

In a series of tweets, Muaz went on to say that First Lady Fathimath Ibrahim recognises the importance of media freedom and thus has not filed motions against any media. He requested that any complaints over an article regarding her works be filed at the outlet in question.

According to the notice issued by MMC to the involved media, the cases were filed by the Chief Communications Officer of the President’s Office. The notice ordered both the media institutions and their journalists responsible for the articles in question to be held accountable.

The Maldives’ parliament passed the Defamation and Freedom of Speech Act last year August which allows authorities to impose heavy fines on media outlets and journalists that post or broadcast “defamatory” content. The Act states that the fines cannot be appealed prior to settling the penalties and failure to do so will result in jail sentences.

Maldives Broadcasting Commission previously fined Raajje TV twice under this Act. Raajje TV settled both penalties with generous funds and aid from the public.

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