Raajje TV has set up a “defamation fund” after the broadcasting regulator slapped an MVR200,000 (US$13,000) fine on the opposition-aligned station and an MVR50,000 (US$3,200) fine on its journalist last week.
Simana Ismail, Raajje TV’s development manager, told the Maldives Independent that the station launched the fundraising drive because it is unable to pay the fines.
“We are a stand-alone station. We run with the help of sponsors. After expenses, we do not have much and not nearly enough to pay the fines. So we needed some extra help,” she said.
The hefty fines were the first punitive action taken under the controversial 2016 defamation law. Failure to pay the fines within 30 days could result in the closure of the station and a jail term of up to six months for the former Raajje TV journalist Aala Ibrahim.
The fund box placed inside the station’s studios in Malé near the People’s Majlis building is almost full, she said.
Opposition supporters have also set up fund boxes on several islands, including the island of Hinnavaru in Lhaviyani atoll where a fishing trip was organised on Sunday to raise funds.
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Source URL: Maldives Independent