January 19, 2012
19th January 2012
The Maldives Broadcasting Commission condemns the statements made by the Minister of Transport and Communication Adhil Saleem that he may instruct the Communications Authority of Maldives (CAM) to withhold the frequencies issued for broadcasting if the Maldives Broadcasting Commission fails to regulate the industry, during a meeting held today. The Commission believes that the Minister’s statement is an attempt made by the Government to intimidate and threaten the broadcasting industry in lieu with the ongoing protests.
While the Maldives Broadcasting Commission is constituted by law as an independent institution, the minister’s unfounded allegation of misadministration by the Commission and its intention to dictate the commission’s actions is clearly in breach of the Broadcasting Act (16/2010).
While article 27 of the Broadcasting Act states that a frequency is a resource that is issued by a license, and while clause 2 of article 21 clearly stipulates that the exclusive authority of formulating, administering and managing the frequency plan lies with the Broadcasting Commission, and while clause 1 of article 19 stipulates that the exclusive authority of issuing, renewing and suspending such licenses lie with the Broadcasting Commission, and while clause 3 of article 44 states that a license can only be revoked by a legal court, and while clause 2 of article 22 states that Broadcasting Commission has the exclusive authority to issue and re-new licenses, the statement communicated by the Minister has no legal weight to it.
In addition the Commission raises concern over the government’s attempts to curtail the right to free speech and free media as stipulated in Article 27 and 28 of the Constitution. We are concerned that the recent attempts to intimidate the media both directly and indirectly will result in grave consequences to the maturing process of an infant industry. Undoubtedly free media is a pillar if not the fourth estate of democracy.