Crime Media and Press Freedom

Gang member was ‘offered money to stab Raajje TV boss’

People connected to a political party were offered MVR140,000 (US$9,000) to attack the chief operating officer of Raajje TV.

Raajje TV said Thursday it had received credible information that a local gang was offered the money to physically harm Hussain Fiyaz Moosa.

Raajje TV has learned that a member of a local gang was taken to an office and offered money to stab Fiyaz. When he was offered this, two very well known politicians were present.

“We believe that politicians are brazenly behind plans to carry out such acts of terrorism and finance them because they believe they are above the law,” the station said.

Fiyaz told the Maldives Independent that the broadcaster had decided against revealing the details of the political party, the politicians and the gang involved due to fears of an escalation.

“We reported the case (to police) in March and was told that since there was no more information the case will be filed.”

Fiyaz has also applied for police protection and has not received a response yet. A police spokesman was unavailable for comment.

Raajje TV, an opposition-aligned broadcaster, has borne the brunt of attacks against journalists during the last five years.

Nobody has been prosecuted over the near-fatal beating of former Raajje TV journalist Ibrahim Waheed in February 2013, while those responsible for the arson attack that destroyed the station’s office later that year also remain unpunished.

Three Raajje TV journalists were found guilty of obstructing police duty last year and fined. They became the first journalists to be convicted of a criminal offence in the Maldives in more than a decade.

The station has also been slapped with defamation penalties on three occasions, paying MVR1.7 million in fines.

The Maldives decline in the Reporters Without Borders’ annual press freedom index continues, with the country falling three places in the rankings.

It is now ranked 120 out of 180 countries, placing it two spots below Afghanistan.

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Source URL:  Maldives Independent

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