Vice President Faisal Naseem has urged journalists to be responsible in exercising the newfound independence of journalists.
He made this remark while speaking at the ceremony held at the National Art Gallery on Friday evening to commemorate this year’s International Press Freedom Day, stating that journalists must ensure that they are exercising their freedom in the best way. He urged them to continue to do honest work and publish news after verification.
In his remark, VP Faisal described the past few years as a dark cloud which came over journalism in the Maldives, and noted that Maldivian journalists faced several challenges in carrying out their duties in the past. He further said that journalists were surrounded by fear the last few years. However, Maldivian journalists persevered in their duties despite these challenges, said the VP, and thanked all journalists for their efforts.
Speaking further, VP Faisal said press freedom is an important principle of a democracy, and noted that there would be no spirit or stability in a country that does not allow freedom of the press.
The Vice President assured that the government would do their part in ensuring that the responsibilities of the Media Council are fulfilled, emphasizing that one of the first tasks done by the President after the new government began administration was repealing the Defamation and Freedom of Expression Law in order to restore the independence of journalists. The country’s improvement in the Press Freedom Index published by Reporters Without Borders attests to how much journalism has prospered in the country since the new government came into office, he noted.
Faisal Naseem further spoke on the importance of reviving the memories of missing journalist Ahmed Rilwan and murdered blogger Yameen Rasheed while we celebrate the Press Freedom Day. The fact that they are not here with us today has caused a void in the Maldivian Press ‘Family’, said VP Faisal, and expressed his hope that the perpetrators behind the inhumane acts are brought in front of justice as soon as possible.