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Erasure of footage at state media under investigation

An entire folder of video footage was deleted before it could be archived.



A police investigation is under way to identify a state media employee who deleted footage at the Public Service Media corporation’s television news channel.

A police forensic team collected evidence and security footage from the TV building in Malé after the incident was reported Monday morning.

The footage from various events this year was stored at the PSM News server in a folder used for daily news bulletins. While some footage was archived after featuring in the news, other videos were unarchived “raw material,” according to PSM.

The entire folder was deleted but some footage has been recovered. It was reported to police by the PSM management.

The incident prompted concern from the newly appointed minister of arts, culture and heritage. The state media is mandated by the national archive law to preserve the footage, Yumna Maumoon tweeted, calling for a thorough probe.

The law requires permission from the director general of the national archives to erase official documents from state institutions.

According to Raajje TV, most of the deleted footage was shot after the election of President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih.

Ahead of September’s election, PSM came under fire over negative campaigning, with stories branding the opposition unpatriotic, anti-Islamic and in cahoots with “Christian missionaries.”

Monitoring by the broadcasting regulator found PSM News coverage of President Abdulla Yameen was 97 percent positive, in contrast to 96 percent negative coverage of joint opposition candidate Solih.

Since it was formed by law in April 2015, the state media corporation’s television and radio channels functioned as “a government mouthpiece,” in the words of a senior editor.

Photo of TV building by PSM