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IFJ concerned over police investigation into journalist's sources

(IFJ/IFEX) - July 8, 2011 - The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) joins its affiliate, the Maldives Journalists' Association (MJA), in calling for restraint by Maldives police in questioning journalists about sources and the authenticity of news reports.

The MJA has issued a statement protesting a recent decision by local police to summon the news editor of the DhiFM channel, Mohamed Jinah Ali, for inquiries regarding the authenticity of a news report broadcast on December 29, 2010. The report concerned an alleged leak of the examination paper administered by an international school board.

"The Maldives is one of the few countries that provides protection in its basic law to the right of journalists to maintain confidentiality of sources," said IFJ Asia-Pacific Director Jacqueline Park.

"This is a healthy first step towards a truly free environment for journalism, but we would like to caution against any action that would violate its basic promise."

The MJA has argued that the Maldives has appropriate bodies which have been established by law, such as the Maldives Media Council (MMC), to attend to the task of establishing the authenticity or otherwise of media news reports.

"We call upon the government and police in the Maldives to use the available framework of institutions to address the issues raised by journalistic work, not police investigations," Park said.

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