Disbursing payments to select media as rewards for favorable coverage is media enslavement, says Member of Parliament of Vilimale’ Constituency Ahmed Usham.
His tweet calling out the Government’s actions came as Maldives slipped in the Press Freedom Index. The annual index is issued by Reporters Sans Frontières (RSF), an international organization fighting for press freedom globally.
The ranking highlighted key issues from the government as direct threats to press freedom. This included cash grants to select media in return for favorable coverage.
In reference to this, MP Usham said coverage for cash was not media freedom. He said that this, in fact, was slavery, adding that this was very clear from the Press Freedom Index ranking for the year.
Cash grants had been given to select media houses under this administration for coverage of Presidential events – which would have been covered nevertheless. This cash had been granted in violation of finance laws and regulations. The country’s corruption watch dog, the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) had launched investigation into this.