Journalists unite against award-winning editor accused of sexual misconduct

Adam Haleem, chief editor of "Avas Online" receiving an award from President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih during a ceremony held by the Maldives Media Council. (Sun Photo/Fayaz Moosa)

A petition by 73 journalists against the award-winning editor of “Avas Online” Adam Haleem who is accused of workplace sexual misconduct has been submitted to authorities. 

The petition was submitted to the President’s Office, Maldives media Council, Gender Ministry, Ministry of Home Affairs, and Maldives Police Service. The petition comes after a female ex-staffer detailed account of sexual harassment and assault directed by Adam Haleem towards her while working at “Avas Online” on Twitter. 

Journalists that signed the petition expressed concern regarding the alleged conduct of a senior figure of a local media and called for equal opportunity and the provision of a safe working environment to female employees in workplaces. 

The petition also noted the incident where video footage of Adam Haleem attacking a female staffer during his time at V Media. The footage had gone viral at the time. 

The petition calls on the government and institutions to consider retracting or the withdrawal awards won by such figures accused of misconduct, before calling for a thorough investigation of such incidents and legal action to be pursued if need be. 

The petition called for the retraction of the National Award in Journalism won by Adam Haleem in 2010 as well as the “Golden Pen Award in Journalism” won by Haleem in 2018, due to the concerning allegations. 

“We, journalists request for the formation of a policy withdraw any such awards and honors won by individuals who are accused of similar misconduct and the full implementation of this policy after its formation.” Read the petition.

Journalists also called on institutions to implement this policy in a manner to ensure that figures accused of such misconduct are not bestowed such honors and awards in the future. 

The petition read that its purpose was to ensure the integrity and faith of the public in journalism and journalists as well as to encourage youth and women to enter the industry and go forward while being ensured that their rights are protected and maintained by state institutions. 

A total of 73 journalists from 19 media outlets in the nation signed the petition. Adam Haleem did not respond to efforts made by Sun for a comment regarding the petition.