Chief of Defence Maj. Gen. Abdullah Shamal has warned that "steps would be taken" against media outlets that disseminate reports about the Maldives National Defence Force (MNDF) that "threaten national security".
In a press conference held on Tuesday, Maj. Gen. Shamal said that it was "tragic" that "baseless stories" were being circulated "to achieve a political agenda or for personal gain". The press conference had been held with regards to the leaking of a draft the Uthuru Thila Falhu (agreement) that had been signed between the governments of the Maldives and India.
Maj. Gen. Shamal repeatedly declared that action would be taken against the media outlets that had reported on the leaked UTF agreement. The Chief of Defence Force repeated this threat ten times.
It is noteworthy that there exists no law that gives the MNDF the power to take action against the press or journalists.
According to reports, the Ministry of Defence had requested the Maldives Police Service to take action against media outlets that had reported on the leaked UTF report.