Maldives parliament backs motion to repeal defamation law

Maldives parliament on Wednesday backed a motion filed by a top opposition lawmaker to repeal the contentious defamation law.

The contentious defamation law was passed in 2016 by the government controlled parliament despite widespread criticism, criminalising speech deemed to be defamatory, to comment against “any tenet of Islam”, to “threaten national security” or to “contradict general social norms”.

Those committing an offence under the law can face fines and failure to pay the fine will result in jail sentence of three to six months.

Parliament during Wednesday's sitting repealed the law with the backing of 38 lawmakers while 13 MPs voted against.

The move came after Maldives' president elect Ibrahim Mohamed Solih had vowed to repeal the defamation law within the first 100 days of his government.