Vice President Faisal Naseem has said that free press is a fundamental building block to achieving true democracy. He made the statement at the Journalism Award Ceremony 2018 organized by the Maldives Media Council.
Speaking at the event held at Dharubaaruge, the Vice President stated that the people elect their representatives to serve them in a democracy. Hence, the role of the people is to hold the government accountable. In this regard, Vice President Faisal Naseem said that a democratic nation must have the right to free press so that journalists may cater to this need by representing the concerns of the public.
Vice President Faisal Naseem noted that not a single complaint has been filed against a journalist since the current administration won the Democratic elections almost nine months ago. He also noted the government had heard the concerns and obstacles faced by journalists.
Vice President Faisal Naseem said that journalists have had to live under fear in the past and that they have been subject to constant attack. Highlighting the many instances and incidences in the past, Vice President noted that this administration understands the importance of press freedom to a democratic society. He added that governments benefit from independent journalism and that this administration will heed constructive criticism from journalists and strive forward through reform.
Vice President Faisal Naseem echoed the government’s commitment to promoting independent journalism and reassured that the government will continue to support independent journalism and free press. Furthermore, he stated that the government aims to put forth several policies redefining press freedom before the end of 2021, including a proposal to establish a national press club, and amendments to the Public Service Media Act and Maldives Broadcasting Commission Act.
Vice President Faisal Naseem also said that the government will facilitate human resource development and training in areas of journalism. He added that the government plans to better facilitate student loans and scholarships in the field of journalism as well, and noted that the administration envisions a more prosperous future to journalism in the country in the coming years.
During the event, Vice President Faisal Naseem gave away top awards to the most distinguished recipients among the nominated journalists for the year 2018.