Private TV stations will be shut down without notice if coverage of the unfolding crisis is deemed to pose a threat to national security, the Maldives broadcasting watchdog has warned.
Ismail Sofwan, a member of the Maldives Broadcasting Commission, told the pro-government Sun Online late last night the regulator will act against TV stations that incite unrest with false information, endanger public interest, and “pave the way for terrorism”.
The warning came as riot police cracked down on opposition supporters celebrating a shock Supreme Court ruling that reinstated 12 unseated lawmakers and quashed the convictions of former president Mohamed Nasheed and other jailed politicians.
In the wake of the dramatic developments Thursday night, the state broadcaster and pro-government Channel 13 reported erroneously that the Supreme Court’s website was hacked, which was promptly denied by the judiciary.
The Supreme Court's website is not hacked & the Court's Order (No: 2018/SC-SJ/01) has been circulated to the concerned authorities. pic.twitter.com/IvQIWcdLBT
— Maldives Judiciary (@judiciarymv) February 1, 2018
The opposition-aligned Raajje TV meanwhile received threats of an attack amid its coverage of the opposition rally at the artificial beach in Malé.
Hussain Fiyaz Moosa, chief operating officer, told the Maldives Independent that police officers were stationed outside the studios after the threat was reported to the authorities.