Foreign journalists invited by government held up at airport

Three foreign journalists who arrived last Tuesday on an invitation from the government were threatened with deportation for seeking to enter the country without undergoing a mandatory vetting process.

A deputy editor from Climate Home, a writer from The New Scientist and a freelancer from The Guardian were held at the Velana International Airport for three hours after immigration officials learned that they were journalists.

The all-expenses-paid trip was organised on behalf of the government by London-based PR agency BTP Advisers to seek coverage on environmental issues, according to Ibrahim Hussein Shihab, the international spokesman of the president’s office.

“The journalists were here on our invitation and they spoke with various government officials and experts regarding the environment and related issues. They also spoke with members of the public and NGOs,” he said.

Megan Darby from the London-based Climate Home told the Maldives Independent that immigration officials threatened to deport her.

“To travel to the Maldives on a government invitation and then be threatened with deportation was frustrating, to say the least,” she said.

Rigorous new rules requiring background checks for foreign journalists came into force in January in the wake of an Al Jazeera documentary that exposed corruption and criminal activity at the highest levels of government.


Full details are available from the link below:


Source URL:  Maldives Independent

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