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Journalists attacked by riot police

(IFJ/IFEX0 - October 27, 2010 - The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) expresses its deep concern over a reported police attack on journalists in the Maldives on October 25.

According to the Maldives Journalists' Association (MJA), an IFJ affiliate, the journalists were reporting on a protest organised by the opposition Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party in the national capital of Male. The MJA has since established that the journalists, most of whom were wearing press badges, were beaten with batons and some of them shackled. A few were briefly detained.

The MJA has identified nine journalists from print, TV and radio who were the targets of the unprovoked attack.

"The IFJ strongly endorses the MJA's decision to inquire further into this incident so that all details are available to the international journalists' community," IFJ Asia-Pacific Director Jacqueline Park said.

"Though the Maldives has significant provisions defending press freedom in its newly enacted constitution, there seems to be a gap between the assurances of the law and the reality faced by journalists on the ground.

"We fully support the MJA in its effort to ensure that all provisions of the law are made operative and become credible guarantees of press freedom."

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