Indian High Commission in the Maldives has requested the government of Maldives to take action against Dhiyares News and the Maldives Journal.
According to a senior government official, the Indian High Commission in Male' sent a letter to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on 24th June 2021, stating that the High Commission would like to draw the attention of the ministry to "recent, recurring articles and social media posts attacking the dignity of the High Commission, the Head of the Mission, and members of diplomatic staff".
The Indian High Commission claimed that these so-called attacks are "motivated; malicious and increasingly personal."
In addition, the Indian High Commission also referred to article 29 of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, reminding the government of Maldives that the diplomatic agent is inviolable. However, it should be noted that the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations does not forbid the media and individuals from criticizing diplomats and their sending states.
The High Commission stated that they are of the view that these "repeated attacks" were undertaken to create enmity and hatred between the people and the government of the Maldives and the people and the government of India.
"These articles and social media posts are attempts to incite hatred and violence against India, the High Commission, and members of its diplomatic staff" stated the letter.
Indian High Commission's letter further stated that the repeated "attacks" on the dignity of the High Commission, the head of the mission and diplomatic staff can affect the efficient performance of the functions of the High Commission and can damage the bilateral relations between India and Maldives.
In that regard, the High Commission requested the government of Maldives to ensure enhanced protection of the premises of the mission, residence of the High Commissioner, and residences of other diplomats, prevent attack on his/her person, freedom and dignity. The High Commission also requested the government to take action against individuals and media outlets who are critical of India.
Speaking to TMJ, a senior official confirmed that the Indian High Commission sent this letter to the foreign ministry of Maldives after Dhiyares published a report on Rohit Rathish the Deputy Indian High Commissioner to the Maldives.
It should be noted that this is the first time in the history of the Maldives where a foreign mission requested the government to take action against local media.
The constitution of the Maldives guarantees freedom of expression as long as it does not violate any tenets of Islam.