New media commission will 'bury' the media; says Opposition

Opposition members have placed heavy criticism against the media commission presented by Un'goofaaru constituency member Jaufar Dawood - a pro-government lawmaker - claiming the motive is to 'bury' and exterminate local media outlets.

The Maldives Media Commission bill had discussed further fines and penalization on local medias of all mediums including broadcast and online.

The bill had furthermore cited that the commission will be comprised of seven members all elected by the President of Maldives as well as the commission's president and deputy president would be selected by the head of the state as well.

In addition to this individuals who are employed or own in media or journalistic field would not be shortlisted or selected for the commission.

The bill has drawn harsh criticism from opposition members that includes north-Maafannu constituency lawmaker Imthiyaz Fahmy who states the bill had not been based on any information collected through academical documents on journalism or media.

The bill also dictates a new disciplinary policy put in place governing all operational media outlets, while upholding constitution and protecting the greater interest of nation and its government was subjected and ordered. Apart from this, the disciplinary policy also demands unbiased news and operating without an external influences to media outlets as well as to protect the name and interests of individuals.

The proposed bill suggested that media outlets found in violation of these conditions could be fined with no less than 2% of the total income of past two years, while temporary halt on transmission could be issued by Media Commission.

Both news media and journalists are subjected for a fine between MVR 10,000 and MVR 100,000 if they were found in violation of the operating or policy standards and regulations. In addition to this, the bill grants Media Commission the right to declare temporary suspension on both news outlets and journalists til pressed charges and following case proceeds to completion.

Should medias breach the conduct and violate regulations repetitively, the commission would reserve the right to terminate the media license of any such media under question.