Censorship in the Maldives

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The Maldives ranks from the middle to the top third of international indexes of press freedom, indicating a large degree of freedom. Media discussion of religion, however, remains tightly restricted.


In the 2011 Freedom House Freedom of the Press annual report, the Maldives scores a 50, or "partly free".[1] In 2010, Reporters Without Borders ranked the Maldives as having the 52nd freest press in the world (of 178 ranked nations).[2]

Ismail Khilath Rasheed controversy[edit]

In November 2011, the blog of journalist Ismail Khilath Rasheed was shut down by Communications Authority of the Maldives (CAM) on the order of the Ministry of Islamic Affairs, on the grounds that the site contained "anti-Islamic material".[3] Rasheed, a self-professed Sufi Muslim, had argued for greater religious tolerance.[4] The blog closing was condemned by Reporters Without Borders[2] and UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navanethem Pillay[5] as representing a rise in religious intolerance.

When Rasheed organized a rally in favor of greater religious freedom on 10 December, the rally was attacked and Rasheed's skull fractured.[4] He was subsequently arrested at the urging of the orthodox Sunni Adhaalath Party,[6] which also organized a counter-demonstration on 23 December to protect Islam. Rasheed was released on 10 January following protests by groups such as Amnesty International (which named him a prisoner of conscience[4]) and Reporters Without Borders[6] on his behalf.


  1. ^ "Freedom of the Press 2011" (PDF). Freedom House. 2011. Retrieved 13 January 2012. 
  2. ^ a b "Government shuts down blog in climate of growing religious intolerance". IFEX. 23 November 2011. Retrieved 12 January 2012. 
  3. ^ Eleanor Johnstone (21 November 2011). "Blog crack-down "is just the beginning", warns censored blogger". Minivan News. Retrieved 12 January 2012. 
  4. ^ a b c "Maldives' Police Arrests Campaigner Seeking Religious Tolerance and Allows His Attackers Impunity". Amnesty International. 21 December 2011. Retrieved 12 January 2012. 
  5. ^ Navanethem Pillay (24 November 2011). "Opening remarks by UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay at a press conference during her mission to the Maldives". United Nations Human Rights. Retrieved 12 January 2012. 
  6. ^ a b "Journalist detained, charges unclear". IFEX. 21 December 2011. Retrieved 12 January 2012.