The President’s Office has filed 14 cases at Maldives Media Council (MMC) against Mihaaru Newspaper and three of its journalists over articles published that allegedly defamed First Lady Fathimath Ibrahim.
According to the notice issued by MMC, the motions were filed against Mihaaru and three of its journalists under the name of the Chief Communications Officer of the President’s Office last March 17. MMC has ordered the newspaper and the accused journalists to respond to the cases in writing before June 1.
Ali Khalid was the Chief Communications Officer at the President’s Office at the time the complaints were filed against Mihaaru.
Speaking to Mihaaru regarding the matter, MMC’s President Abdul Mueed Hassan stated that the council took the initiative to probe the cases due to the complaints MMC received.
The contents being investigated by MMC include articles regarding the First Lady’s campaign for President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom, the public’s positive and negative reactions to the First Lady’s works, distribution of swine flu vaccines, masks and medicine from the First Lady’s Office during the H1N1 virus outbreak in the Maldives, complaints about mounting pressure to join the ruling party, and action urged against the ruling party for the inclusion of students in political activities.
Mihaaru understands that the President’s Office has also filed against Raajje TV’s news website raajje.mv, VFP, Vaguthu and Maldives Independent. The MMC has ordered six journalists of Raajje TV to respond to the issues within seven days.
The spokesperson of the President’s Office, Ibrahim Muaz Ali, has denied that the President’s Office filed any cases against any media outlets at the MMC. However, the President’s Office has copies of the letters issued by MMC to media outlets demanding written responses to the cases.