National Press Club

National Press Club expresses concern of deteriorating press freedoms in Maldives

April 12, 2016 | By Rachel Oswald |

The National Press Club expressed concern April 12 about reports of the rough treatment of a group of journalists gathered to protest worsening press freedoms in the Maldives.

"We are deeply troubled by reports of tear-gassing and manhandling of journalists who were understandably frustrated by a series of moves by the Maldives government that would likely make independent, critical reporting in the country more difficult," said NPC President Thomas Burr. "We will continue to closely monitor events in the Maldives and urge authorities to be protectors, not opponents, of press freedom."

Earlier this month, police used tear gas at close range and manhandled a group of reporters who were conducting a sit-in protest outside the office of President Abdulla Yameen in the capital of Male, according to news reports. Authorities reportedly briefly arrested 16 journalists. The Maldives independent news organization said the journalists were protesting the court-ordered closure of a daily newspaper, the lack of progress in an investigation into the 2014 abduction of journalist Ahmed Rilwan, and a draft law that would criminalize defamation.