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Media warned over online video coverage from MPs



TV stations have been warned against broadcasting footage live-streamed on social media by MPs who are inside the parliament chamber.

In a circular released Monday, the Broadcasting Commission of Maldives said such videos contained “obscene language and content contrary to standards of public decency”.

These contents also defamed members of parliament, the statement said.

The warning follows disruption and even brawls inside the chamber.

In one sitting, lawmakers from both parties accused each other of throwing eggs. In another, a ruling party MP broke down the door of the minority leader’s office.

Journalists were barred from observing the latest sessions and the official video feed was cut off because of the commotion.

Opposition MPs, however, live-streamed the chaotic scenes.

The broadcasting commission said broadcasting the content was against the law.

It advised broadcasters to “ensure that scenes like this are broadcasted in line with the Broadcasting Act, regulations under the Act, the Broadcasting Code of Practice, and the Anti-Defamation and Freedom of Expression Act”.

Legal action will be taken against those who violate broadcasting laws, the commission warned.

Raajje TV Chief Operations Officer Hussain Fiyaz Moosa said the “circular, though in the name of advice, seems like a warning to all media”.

“The fact that the commission would put this out, when in fact no one has done anything illegal shows how unqualified the members of the commission are,” he said

“It is the responsibility of the media to show the people what is happening inside the People’s Majlis, what their representatives are doing, in any way we can, even if it is not the official video feed.”

The commission’s warning comes a week before parliament is set to resume sessions. Ruling party lawmakers are expected to start pushing through the annual budget starting next week.

In a secret meeting between the defence minister and soldiers in August, soldiers tasked with maintaining security inside the parliament complained to the minister about their faces being broadcasted live on TV.

Defense Minister Adam Shareef assured soldiers the government was working on a ”procedural solution” to stop media from broadcasting the video content.