Maldives National Defense Force (MNDF) has defended the use army helicopters and vessels to shoot a program to be aired by private TV channel, RaajjeTV.
The TV show ‘Celebrity Race’ was shot in the uninhabited islands in Gaamendhoo lagoon of Dhaalu atoll from January 9 to 17. The show will be aired by RaajjeTV during the month of Ramadan. A large number of MNDF helicopters and vessels were used in the shoot, and several MNDF personnel were sent to islands for the shootings.
AVAS has learnt that six vessels in the MNDF fleet were reserved for the shootings for a duration of nine days. This includes a coast guard vessel and a large landing craft. Two helicopters, a radar vessel, and a fire launch were also among the MNDF resources utilized for the show. The helicopters were used for over two hours in one day to shoot a scene for the program.
While criticism has been directed at MNDF for allowing state resources to be utilized in this way, Spokesperson of MNDF, Major Ibrahim Azim said MNDF has always provided its resources to the public, individuals, private organizations, media, companies and other entities, councils and schools as long as it did not interrupt the operations of MNDF. It is a social service provided to the public in order to build the relationship between MNDF and the public, said Azim.
RaajjeTV is a TV channel known to promote main-ruling Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) and the government. Many have expressed concern that MNDF resources that are maintained using tax-payer money are being loaned to specific parties for use.