Maldives drops 15 spots in latest Press Freedom Index

The Maldives' rank in the Press Freedom Index has dropped by 15 spots.

The Press Freedom Index is an annual ranking of countries compiled and published by Reporters Without Borders. The index is based upon the organization's own assessment of the countries' press freedom records.

The Maldives ranked 79 in last year's Press Freedom Index. However, in the latest index publicized this year, the Maldives' rank fell by 15 spots, leaving the archipelago in the 87th spot. This is the first time the Maldives' rank fell in the last four years.

Maldives' ranking in the Press Freedom Index over the years

2018: 120th spot
2019: 98th spot
2020: 79th spot
2021: 72nd spot
2022: 87th spot

According to this year's index, although Article 28 of the constitution proclaims press freedom and states that no person shall be compelled to disclose the source of any information that is espoused, disseminated, or published by that person, a bill was submitted to the Parliament at the end of 2021 that threatened the safeguard assured in the constitution. The Evidence Bill would allow the courts to compel journalists to reveal their confidential sources, it said. The report noted that a parliamentary committee had earlier asked for the confidentiality of a source in a Mihaaru News article to be lifted.

The report further shed light on the influence of extremists and gangs on the media and highlighted the disappearance of journalist Ahmed Rilwan and the murder of social media blogger Yameen Rasheed as issues faced by the Maldives media.