#IndexAwards2017: Maldives Independent continues to hold government to account despite pressures
Maldives Independent, one of the country's few remaining independent media outlets, has faced repeated harassment, from violent attacks to raids by police
10 Apr 17
The Maldives Independent raided by police

The Maldives Independent raided by police


Maldives Independent, the Maldives’ premiere English publication and one of the few remaining independent media outlets, was formed in exile in Sri Lanka in 2004. As the country’s pro-democracy movement began to grow, the staff of the Maldives Independent moved operations back home in 2005.

The publication covers many taboo subjects which are neglected by other press outlets, editor Zaheena Rasheed said, including gender, human rights, political violence, religious extremism and much more. For this, Maldives Independent has faced repeated harassment. 2017 Freedom of Expression Awards link

In September 2016, following the release of an Al Jazeera documentary exposing government corruption that contained interviews with Rasheed, the newspaper’s offices were attacked with a machete and later raided by the police. Rasheed believes whoever left a machete stuck to the door of her office is connected with the disappearance of one of her colleagues in 2014, an abduction she said has not been properly investigated by police.

Following an anonymous text Rasheed received saying she would be the next one to disappear, she left the country.

The Maldives ranks 112 out of 180 countries on the Reporters Without Borders Press Freedom Index. “Journalists in the Maldives have taken unprecedented risks in reporting on human rights, business corruption and abuse of authority. I believe a free press is crucial, essential in protecting human rights,” Rasheed said.

Despite the attacks, arrests and raids, Maldives Independent continues to produce outstanding journalism, holding the Maldives’ corrupt government to account.

See the full shortlist for Index on Censorship’s Freedom of Expression Awards 2017 here.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row full_width=”stretch_row_content” equal_height=”yes” el_class=”text_white” css=”.vc_custom_1490258749071{background-color: #cb3000 !important;}”][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_custom_heading text=”Support the Index Fellowship.” font_container=”tag:p|font_size:28|text_align:center” use_theme_fonts=”yes” link=”|||”][vc_column_text]

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By Ryan McChrystal

Assistant Online Editor at Index on Censorship Ryan McChrystal is Assistant Editor, Online at Index on Censorship, where he provides support for the news and online team in addition to creating content. He has previously held various editorial roles, including as a local reporter, a market reporter and most recently as a features writer at an SME-focused magazine. He graduated in history and politics from Queen’s University, Belfast. Contact: [email protected] | public key