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Maldives: Govt welcomes steps already taken

Government welcomes recognition by International Press Freedom Mission of steps already taken to promote free press and reiterates commitment to the Roadmap

Male’ (Thursday) – The Government of Maldives has welcomed the report by the International Press Freedom Mission (IPFM), following its recent fact-finding visit to the Maldives.

In comments to the media following the conclusion of the fact-finding visit, led by Reporters Without Borders (RSF), the Chief Government Spokesman, Mr. Mohamed Hussain Shareef said:

“The Government welcomes the comments made by the IPFM, including the recognition that the environment for free public and media _expression in the Maldives had opened up significantly over the past 18 months. The IPFM’s offer to extend its expertise towards the efforts to strengthening the field of broadcasting in the country is also greatly appreciated.”

“The IPFM also acknowledged, in its report, the growth of the independent media and the steps already taken to improve the press freedom environment through the Roadmap for the reform agenda.”

“The Government wishes to reiterate its firm commitment to moving ahead with the reform agenda, in particular the timeline identified in the Roadmap. The promotion of free _expression and press is an integral part of the democratic reform agenda initiated by the President. In this light, it is heartening that the Mission had met with key officials, including the Minister of Information and Arts and the Attorney General.”

Shareef went on to say:

“The IPFM also had the opportunity to analyse the package of legislation already tabled before the People’s Majlis (the Parliament), including the draft Bill on Freedom of Press. The Attorney General has invited IPFM to give their feedback on the draft legislation, and has assured that it would be taken into consideration in ensuring that package meets international standards.”

“The Government hopes that the Mission’s fact-finding visit, on the invitation of the Government of Maldives, is only the start, and that it would remain as a key stakeholder of the reform programme.”

“The critical comments offered in the report itself will be considered very seriously, and the Government is confident that, with the implementation of the Defamation Bill, which is in the stage of drafting, much of the gaps identified by the Mission in its report will be address.”

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