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.”
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.
Concern = thaureef. 😁
— Mohamed shabaath (@mshabath) March 29, 2018
— Ahmed Shaheed (@ahmedshaheed) March 28, 2018
— Badruddeen 🎈 (@Badruddeen) March 28, 2018
— Ahmed Nihan (@ahmed_nihan) March 19, 2018
Just met the IPU delegation. PPM PG leader blatantly lied to the @IPUparliament delegation and told them that Joint Opposition Leader @ibusolih has been released from jail! What liars! #MaldivesCrisis pic.twitter.com/YmR4rr4A9k
— 𝐌𝐏 𝐑𝐨𝐳𝐚𝐢𝐧𝐚 𝐀𝐝𝐚𝐦 🎈 (@Roxeyna) March 19, 2018
IPU ge menbarun, Rayyithunge ge Majilis memberunnaai bahdhalu kurevvun – Qaanoonaai khilaafah 12 Majilis Memberunge Gon’di gehley kamah bunaa mahsala mauloomaathu IPU aai hissaa kurevunu. pic.twitter.com/g0lV0qiwmm
— Raees Maumoon Office 🇲🇻 (@RMAG_Office) March 19, 2018