The broadcasting regulator has slapped Villa Television and sister station VFM with a fine of MVR400,000 (US$26,000) over a speech by an opposition lawmaker in December last year.
Following a defamation inquiry, the Maldives Broadcasting Commission found that MP Mohamed Musthafa used vulgar language to defame President Abdulla Yameen during a live event.
Both VTV and VFM – owned by the Island Broadcasting Company affiliated with exiled Jumhooree Party leader Gasim Ibrahim – denied breaching the broadcasting code of conduct, MBC noted in its investigation report that was made public Thursday.
However, the commission decided to impose a fine of MVR200,000 (US$12,900) each and ordered the TV and radio stations to air an apology statement during primetime before March 12.
A spokesman for VTV and VFM‘s parent company said a statement will be issued shortly on its first fines under the draconian defamation law of 2016.
The MBC has previously fined independent broadcaster Raajje TV by MVR1.7 million (US$110,000) on three separate occasions, the largest of which (US$65,000) came for a speech deemed defamatory towards the president.