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IPU ‘praised’ Maldives, reports state media, despite calls to reinstate 12 MPs

No mention was made of the IPU’s calls to immediately reinstate 12 MPs and withdraw obstruction charges raised against 12 opposition lawmakers for entering parliament. 



State media has drawn criticism and ridicule after claims Wednesday that the Inter-Parliamentary Union praised the Maldives parliament.

The Public Service Media’s Television Maldives claimed that a report released during the organisation’s 138th general assembly “noted the IPU’s work with the People’s Majlis and praised the cooperation from Speaker Abdulla Maseeh.”

No mention was made of calls to immediately reinstate 12 MPs and withdraw charges raised against opposition lawmakers.

After visiting the Maldives from March 19 to 21, an IPU delegation called the disputed removal of the dozen lawmakers “arbitrary” as it came “at a time when a vote on the no-confidence motion against the speaker was imminent and likely to pass with [their] support”.

The delegation also expressed concern about “the wave of arrests of members of parliament under the state of emergency, the charges brought against four parliamentarians, and their detention until the end of their trial on charges of terrorism.”

Noting the passing of laws with less than half of lawmakers present, the delegation observed that “the ruling parties and the opposition appear to be unable to use parliament as the platform to discuss their differences and find common solutions.”

The organisation of national parliaments called for a fact-finding mission in October after defectors from the ruling party were unseated “in the absence of any legal basis under Maldivian law.”

The IPU also raised alarm over “the increased militarization of the physical premises of the parliament” after opposition MPs were manhandled and dragged out by police officers and soldiers in riot gear.

But deputy speaker ‘Reeko’ Moosa Manik, who is representing the Maldives at the IPU assembly in Geneva, told TVM that the report was the best compiled on the Maldives so far despite “misinformation” from the opposition.

The state TV station came under fire Wednesday night with social media users sharing the IPU report and asking how concern amounted to thaureef (praise).

Since the Public Service Media company was established by law in 2015, state media channels have been criticised for exclusively showing ruling party rallies and airing talk shows without an opposition voice.

TVM is a government mouthpiece. Even if we might not think like them, we can’t speak out openly against it or there will be disciplinary measures,” a senior editor told the Maldives Independent after the 2016 anti-defamation law came into force.