The Maldives Foreign Ministry's spokesperson, Safaath Ahmed, has defended the Ministry's decision not to disclose the identities of the countries that requested the "formula" used by President Solih for the country's economic recovery. After the Information Commission of the Maldives (ICOM) ordered the Ministry to reveal the information, many people criticized the Ministry's representatives for their response during the hearing.
During the hearing held on April 25th, the Information Commissioner, Ahidh Rasheed, rejected the Foreign Ministry's claim that the Vienna Convention was a legal basis for withholding the information. The ICOM made this ruling in response to a Right to Information request filed by The Maldives Journal. The Maldives Foreign Minister, Abdullah Shahid, had announced in January that world leaders had requested the Maldivian government to share the "formula" used by President Solih for the country's economic recovery.
The Foreign Ministry initially refused to disclose the requested information, citing Article 22 of the RTI law of Maldives, claiming that the information was privileged and exempt from the Right to Information Act. However, during the hearing, the Information Commissioner pointed out that Article 27.1 of the Vienna Convention, which deals with facilitating communication between sending states and their diplomats, had nothing to do with communication between the mission and the host country.
The Ministry's representatives had argued that the article could be applied in this case and that all communication between diplomats and officials of two countries are classified. However, the Foreign Minister himself had announced that world leaders were asking him for the "economic formula," which raised questions about the Ministry's stance on the matter.
Safaath Ahmed took to Twitter and claimed that the Maldives government had received praise and curiosity from foreign leaders regarding the factors that contributed to the country's successful economic recovery. She also stated that journalists' requests for this information were nothing but a "political attack."
The ruling of the Information Commission emphasizes the importance of transparency in government affairs and the right of citizens to access information from public authorities. The Maldives government's response to this ruling will be closely watched by many people, including journalists and civil society organizations.