The Criminal Court has scheduled the second verdict, in the ongoing trial of local television channel Raajje TV’s journalist Mohamed Visam, for this Thursday.
Visam has been charged with two counts of obstructing police. He was fined MVR 28,000 in the first case, narrowly missing a jail sentence which could lead up to a term of four years.
The hearings for the second case, which charges him with entering a restricted area during a protest in March 2015, have ended. Should Visam be found guilty during the reading out of the verdict on Thursday, the court may finalise his sentence on the same day.
Visam, along with Raajje TV journalist Leevan Ali Nazeer, were both convicted of obstructing Police for attempting to stop policemen from arresting their CEO, Hussain Fiyaz, who had been caught trespassing on Maafannu Stadium. The police had closed off the stadium in November 2015, to allegedly defuse an explosive device discovered near the presidential palace of Muleeaage.
Both journalists have appealed the sentence.
Raajje TV’s cameraman, Adam Zareer, has also been sentenced to pay a fine of MVR 3,000 for obstructing police, while their CEO Fiyaz is undergoing a separate criminal trial for allegedly striking a policeman.
According to Reporters Without Borders, an international organisation representing journalists :
Authoritarianism and fundamentalism
Four years after the February 2012 coup d’état, the archipelago is still very hostile for independent and opposition media. In a state of emergency and “national security” climate, the media continue to be subjected to police brutality and government obstruction. Many Maldivian journalists have reported being the targets of death threats. According to a report published by the Maldives Broadcasting Corporation (MBC), political parties are the leading source of these threats to journalists, followed by criminal gangs and religious extremists. This poisonous climate reinforces self-censorship.
Source URL: Mihaaru-News