Maldives journalists demand gov't probe attacks on media

AP News
Posted: Apr 08, 2016 12:50 PM

MALE, Maldiives (AP) — Journalists in the Maldives demonstrated in the capital on Friday to demand that the government investigate attacks against the media and withdraw a proposed criminal defamation law.

About 50 journalists representing nearly all media organizations participated in the protest, less than a week after police broke up a rally by journalists and activists who accused the government of stifling press freedom. Nineteen participants in that rally were arrested and later released.

The protesters Friday demanded an investigation into the 2014 disappearance of journalists working for an opposition-aligned website and attacks and threats against several media offices.

They also demanded that the government withdraw its appointment of ruling party activists to the independent broadcasting commission.

President Yameen Abdul Gayoom's ruling party has proposed a law in Parliament that would criminalize defamation and punish it with heavy fines and jail terms.

Maldives, which is best known for luxurious island resorts, became a multiparty democracy in 2008, ending decades of autocratic rule. However it has lost much of its democratic gains in recent years.