UN Special Rapporteur: Media in government's pocket

Dr. Ahmed Shaheed. (File Photo/United Nations)

The Special Rapporteur for the United Nations (UN) and former Foreign Minister Dr Ahmed Shaheed on Wednesday stated that the media remain in the government's pocket. 

Speaking about World Press Freedom Day, he noted that the significance given by the government to access of  information has dropped, and has increased the spreading of disinformation. 

Additionally, he stated that media manipulation by the state has also increased. 

Notably, Maldives' rank in the Press Freedom Index - the annual ranking of nations compiled and published by Reporters without Borders - has dropped by 15 spots. 

Though Maldives ranked 79 in 2021, in the most recent report publicized, the rank was 87. 

Meanwhile, speaking on the occasion of World Press Freedom Day, President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih said that his administration has ensured full freedom to Maldivian media outlets during a time they were faced with extremely rigid constraints – expressing his content regarding the matter.

“In this opportunity, (I) guarantee complete freedom pertaining to dissemination of news and information and the right to information for local journalists and Maldivian citizens in the future as well – in conformation to the government’s pledge to ensure press freedom,” he had said.

President Solih further stated that ensuring the opportunity of press freedom is mandatory in making the government more responsible and enhancing democracy – adding that it was also important to combat corruption and misconduct.  He added that responsible journalism is being witnessed due to the independent environment created.