Maldives Journalists Association (MJA) on Monday called to boycott press conferences held by those who harass journalists for their publications.
The association released a statement addressing the recent increase in harassment of journalists at press conferences held by political figures. In it, MJA condemned the defamation of individual journalists by laundering serious accusation that are baseless.
Furthermore, the association noted that journalists take on the responsibility of bringing significant things that happen to the public, as well as bringing major things in a way that people can understand, and ensure those in power remain responsible, and added that in a democratic environment it was completely unacceptable to personally harass and accuse journalists for their writings.
It also said that those who do these things plan and do it intentionally to misguide people into thinking the work journalists do to be useless, and to take away the trust people place on media.
“Journalists should be criticized. But that criticism should not be personal, and it should be exempt from baseless accusations, and should be substantial. And this union will always welcome such substantial criticism and suggestions for improvement.”
In the statement MJA acknowledged that the journalism industry was plagued with the same old issues such as lack of financial independence, obstacles to building capable journalists, and stated that these could only be resolved by working together to find a solution.
MJA’s statement comes after journalists faced with harassment and accusations of bribery and theft, at a press conference held by Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) and The Democrats. Instead of providing straightforward answers to the questions asked by reporters, they were targeted with baseless accusations and personal harassment.