President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih on Tuesday reiterated his government's commitment to ensuring freedom of the press and expression.
During his visit to Alif Alif Atoll Ukulhas island, president Solih pointed out that Maldives disappointingly ranked at 120 out of 180 countries in this year’s Press Freedom Index published by Reporters Without Borders.
He noted that the country has been sliding down the list since 2012 owing to restrictions placed on the media by the previous government.
President highlighted that the organisation continues to describe journalism in Maldives as severely restricted and prohibitive, the democratic space afforded by the constitution for political parties to operate severely hindered, and individual rights neglected to an alarming level.
He also noted that the administration of the country’s prisons system has been grossly neglected with the basic rights of prisoners violated on a systematic basis insisting that the Maldivian people have lost faith in the justice system.
President Solih further stated that this negligence by the past government has resulted in the Maldives being labelled as undemocratic.
Speaking in this regard, the President also noted that the NGO Freedom House describes the Maldives as a partially free country, and one that neglects the individual rights of its citizens.
President Solih reiterated that the country can only attain its development goals and prosperity by ensuring the fundamental rights of the people. He also stated that the government would never hinder or neglect the people’s rights for any reason.