Maldives President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih is seen in Male on March 25, 2020. Solih recently enacted legislation that could threaten journalistic sources. (AFP/Ahmed Shurau)

CPJ joins call for Maldives to repeal or amend provision of Evidence Act

On July 25, 2022, the Committee to Protect Journalists joined nine press freedom, freedom of expression, and human rights groups in a statement calling on the Maldives government to repeal or amend a provision of the recently ratified Evidence Act, which allows courts to compel journalists and media organizations to reveal their sources on the basis of vague and overly broad terms of “terrorism” and “national security.”

President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih ratified the bill on July 18, following its passage by the country’s parliament on June 30, according to news reports. In October 2021, CPJ called on Maldives legislators to reject the problematic provision.

Journalists who refuse to disclose a source upon court order can be found in contempt, and face up to three months in prison and a fine, the statement says. The groups expressed concern that the act, which will become enforceable within six months of its ratification, will have a chilling effect on the work of journalists investigating and reporting on human rights violations, corruption, and abuse of power by state authorities.

Read the full statement here.