Raajje TV on Thursday criticised the Maldives’ broadcast watchdog over its “targeted attack” to restrict press freedom, after being hit with a record fine.
It was fined MVR2 million (US$129,807) by the Maldives Broadcasting Commission over content deemed defamatory towards President Abdulla Yameen and a threat to national security.
The content was a politician’s speech during the live broadcast of an opposition demonstration.
Raajje TV said the fine was the latest in a series of attacks “with the sole intent of creating fear of President Yameen and his regime.”
“Raajje TV believes that this is a calculated and well coordinated attack to obstruct its efforts to make President Yameen’s government accountable ahead of next month’s presidential election,” it said.
Hussain Fiyaz Moosa, the stations’ COO, told the Maldives Independent there would be a fundraising drive to pay the fine.
The station also criticised the MBC for publicising the fine before informing the station of it.
“This shows a lack of professionalism from members of the commission, some of whom are loyalists of Yameen.”
The MBC has been stacked with Yameen loyalists including campaign workers. Some commission members used to be employed by the first lady’s office and have been involved in organising political events for the ruling coalition.
In March, the head of news at pro-government broadcaster Channel 13 was appointed as a commission member.
The MBC has already imposed heavy fines totalling MVR 1.7 million on the opposition-aligned Raajje TV.
Photo shows a previous fundraising drive by Raajje TV to pay a fine.