Opposition parties, Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) and People’s National Congress (PNC) have condemned the attacks by an officer of Maldives National Defense Force (MNDF) on Voice’s Chief Editor Shafraz Ahmed Hussain.
A joint statement issued by the two parties said that Chief Editor Shafraz was accosted and threatened by a security personnel of Maldives National Defense Force (MNDF) attached with the President.
On Wednesday evening, the President attended an event held in Hulhumale’ second phase to promote a state event. The event was closed off to press and public – a protest had started at the fringes of the area. Shafraz was covering the protest.
The officer had identified Shafraz and said that ‘he should be eliminated’ and that ‘he needs to be cut down’. The same officer had called on an officer of Maldives Police Service (MPS), asking the officer to arrest Shafraz.
Both warnings were quite audible and several witnesses had confirmed as much. Shafraz had his press credentials visible.
The opposition condemned the attack, stressing that under the Solih administration attacks on the press have intensified. The opposition also said that the fourth estate of the nation was effectively paralyzed, as most media houses have been bought over by the government. Any dissenters are subject to similar attacks.
The opposition called on the state to secure the rights of media and freedom of expression, as they are rights granted under the constitution. It also called on authorities to launch an investigation into the officer.
This is not the first time, members of press have been at the receiving end of vitriol of security forces. In a previous “India Out” rally, an officer of MPS had accosted a member of press in a similar manner. No action was taken, in spite of public and international rights groups condemning the issue.