The Supreme Court has banned Raajje TV from covering any trials or events organised by the judiciary until an inquiry is concluded into alleged contempt of court.
The inquiry was launched after content aired on October 31 was deemed to have violated contempt of court regulations, the Department of Judicial Administration announced Sunday.
Remarks by the hosts of the Fashaairu morning programme were “contemptuous of judges, especially the Supreme Court and Supreme Court justices, and demeaning to the honour and dignity of the whole judiciary.”
The hosts spoke about the injustice of courts in the kingdom of Sodom. The privately-owned station insists they never compared the Maldivian judiciary to the ancient city that faced divine punishment.
The contempt of court rules cover any utterance or action that demeans a court, a judge, or court officer. It prohibits criticising or berating a court or a judge, or committing any act that causes loss of respect and dignity of a court or a judge, or attempting to bring the court into disrepute.
A fine of MVR100,000 (US$6,485) could also be imposed for spoken or written words as well as deeds and gestures committed inside or outside a courtroom that portray the judiciary in a negative light.
In recent weeks, the Supreme Court suspended three prominent lawyers for criticising its decisions, two of whom were punished over tweets.
In 2015, the criminal court barred Raajje TV journalists from covering trials after a cameramen filmed a meeting between a judge and the prosecutor general. The suspension was later lifted.
— Husnu Al Suood (@hsuood) November 4, 2018