September 13, 2020
Maldives Broadcasting Commission members has held a discussion meeting with President of the Maldives, Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, regarding challenges in administration due to budget limitations and on the importance of revising the Broadcasting Act to further expedite the legal responsibilities of the Commission.
Speaking at the meeting held at the President’s Office this morning, Commission President Mariyam Waheeda, noted that the low budget allocated for the Commission only accommodates salaries for members, staff and to maintain minimum functioning of the Commission. She also noted that the budget allocated annually is insufficient to carry out policies and strategies mapped out in the Commission’s Strategic Action Plan.
Commission members requested from President Solih to facilitate and fast-track support through relevant government offices to overcome the challenges the Commission is currently facing.
Informing President Solih that the Commission has held talks with Finance Ministry as well regarding the budget limitations, Commission President further went on to say that the Commission has made one of its priorities to conduct required training programs for local broadcast journalists and are in contact with international stakeholder organizations regarding broadcast training and funding for said programs.
Commission members also discussed with President Solih the difficulties in monitoring illegal rebroadcasting services provided in resorts. They also said that, even though to provide rebroadcasting services in resorts require a license obtained from the Commission, unlicensed service providers operate on a large scale in resorts and that the Commission has received complaints for airing foreign TV channels without rebroadcasting rights to the content and that it is an international copyrights infringement. Members further noted that due to unlicensed rebroadcasting prevalent in resorts; state treasury is devoid of revenue made through rebroadcasting license issuance.
During the meeting, Commission members briefed President Solih on a number of sector development projects currently ongoing. Members shared information regarding the pilot project on community broadcasting and planned broadcast media training for local journalists in collaboration with Islamic University of Maldives.
Speaking at the meeting, President Solih gave his assurance that he would provide support through relevant government bodies to overcome the Commission’s concerns raised in the meeting.
Speaking on media sector development of the country, President Solih noted that Maldives has a high number of TV, Radio channels and online papers in operation, thus amplifying high level of press freedom in the country. He further highlighted that to take local journalism to a higher level, training journalists in media ethics and best practices of journalism are of utmost importance.
In addition to Commission President Mariyam Waheeda, Vice President of the Commission, Ahmed Gais, Commissioner Amjad Waheed, Commissioner Ali Yousuf, Commissioner Aminath Ameena, Acting Secretary General Aishath Shaaheen and Public Relations Coordinator Ahmed Arshad Ali attended the meeting.