An information request submitted by Dhiyares, the sister-newspaper of The Maldives Journal, to the Ministry of Defence for details on the costs incurred by the State for the use of military vessels in a television show produced by RaajjeTV has gone unanswered.
Dhiyares had submitted a request for information on January 27. This was regarding a television show that was being produced by the ruling party-sponsored cable television channel, RaajjeTV. Several Maldives National Defence Force personnel and vessels were used in the production of the show. In addition were the military helicopters operated in the Maldives by the Indian armed forces.
Dhiyares had requested for the grounds on which the personnel and vessels were permitted to be used for the production of a commercial television programme. Dhiyares had also requested for all of the details of all costs incurred by the State by permitting RaajjeTV to benefit from State resources. Likewise, Dhiyares also asked for the guidelines by which the MNDF allow for the use of military personnel and vessels for productions made by private media outlets.
The request had been submitted through the Right To Information Act which mandates that the institution being queried should respond to the request within 15 days. The law also states that if an answer could not be provided, the institution should inform the questioner of it within 21 days.
Dhiyares has planned to appeal the case with the Information Commissioner’s Office.
RaajjeTV’s use of State resources for their own production has earned them much criticism from the public. It is particularly noteworthy that RaajjeTV is perceived to be a propaganda outlet for the current government and the ruling party.
RaajjeTV has propagated false information as news for the benefit of the MDP in the past.
Several personnel who had worked at RaajjeTV now enjoy government positions under the Solih administration.