News RSF calls for open trial of Maldivian blogger’s accused murderers News Help by sharing this information Reporters Without Borders (RSF) is joining other NGOs in condemning the media freedom violations that have taken place in Maldives since a state of emergency was proclaimed. RSF and the other NGOs call on the authorities to allow journalists to work normally during this critical period. We urge the Maldives to immediately take measures to ensure freedom of the press and safety of the media and journalists allowing them to report freely and without fear of prosecution or other consequences during this critical time for the Maldives democracy. Maldivian riot policemen oversee the work of media representatives (photo : Adam Sireii / AFP). On February 4, the deputy leader of the ruling Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM), Abdul Raheem Abdullah, called on the security forces to immediately shut down Raajje TV, accusing it of giving airtime to the opposition leaders. Maldivian president’s comms chief accused of sexually harassing journalist Organisation Police also questioned journalists at the news websites Avas and Mihaaru on February 1 after the sites published a statement issued by the Maldives jailed former vice president, Ahmed Adeeb. The Maldives Broadcasting Commission (MBC) and the Maldives Correctional Service (MCS), on February 2, issued separate notices warning against broadcasting content “threatening national security”. Amid the growing political crisis in the Maldives, the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), Reporters Without Borders (RSF) and the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) are deeply concerned by ongoing restrictions and threats on media and press freedom in the Maldives, and call on authorities to allow media to carry out work without reprisal. Maldives is ranked 117th out of 180 countries in RSF’s 2017 World Press Freedom Index. These restrictions come after the Maldivian media has already been forced to exercise the high level of self-censorship due to the draconian Anti-Defamation and Freedom of Expression Act. The IFJ, RSF and CPJ reaffirm that amidst the ongoing political turmoil in the Maldives, it is critical for the media to report freely and without fear to ensappellel ure the public access to credible information. However, the level of threat to the media by the state agencies is dangerously high, making it impossible to ensure independent journalism. The current state of threats and repression directed at the media in the Maldives violate critical international standards of democracy and rule of law. All threats and harassment to media in the Maldives should immediately stop and the state should act to ensure the safety and security of media and journalists. Two journalists working for the Agence France-Presse, Indian photographer Money Sharma, and British videographer Atish Patel, were arrested on February 9. One day earlier, the Ministry of Defense and National Security warned of action on parties found to have brought forward content impacting national security without a prior notice. The statement added that live shows and programs on media could “create chaos, confusion in public and create discord within the society”. Following the warning, the opposition-aligned Raajje TV suspended its regular broadcast ‘due to increased harassment, threats and intimidation’ and ‘unsafe environment for journalists to report freely and independently, and without fear’. It also said the Maldives Police withdrew security provided to the station, which has weathered several attacks in the past. MaldivesAsia – Pacific Condemning abusesProtecting journalistsMedia independenceProtecting sources Judicial harassmentEconomic pressureFreedom of expression The three international press freedom organizations jointly condemn ongoing threats to shut down media organizations in the name of national security during the country’s current political crisis and its declaration of a state of emergency. The media in the Maldives are enduring unprecedented restrictions, making it impossible to bring out necessary independent or critical reporting in the public interest. September 12, 2018 Find out more MaldivesAsia – Pacific Condemning abusesProtecting journalistsMedia independenceProtecting sources Judicial harassmentEconomic pressureFreedom of expression Related documents Joint Statement about the situation of the press in the MaldivesPDF – 171.81 KB Follow the news on Maldives February 14, 2018 Maldives government urged to respect journalists’ rights Receive email alerts News July 15, 2020 Find out more to go further RSF seeks press freedom pledges from Maldives presidential candidates RSF_en News Maldivian President Abdullah Yameen declared a 15-day state of emergency on February 5, after the country’s Supreme Court ordered the release of opposition political leaders and reinstated 12 suspended Member of Parliaments on February 1. The order effectively put President Yameen’s government in a minority. In a move directly threatening the independence of the judiciary, the government refused to respect the Court’s orders and subsequently arrested the Chief Justice and another judge. After this action, the remaining judges annulled the original order. April 23, 2018 Find out more
When Harvard Alumni Association (HAA) President Teresita Alvarez-Bjelland ’76, M.B.A. ’79, took office last year, she had a specific goal in mind: bring together the network of Harvard alumni worldwide to highlight the important role that public service plays in the Harvard community. Over the past year, the HAA joined with thousands of alumni, students, and faculty to celebrate Harvard’s long-standing commitment to public service.“Service is a unifying cause for alumni,” said Alvarez-Bjelland. “As the umbrella organization for all Harvard alumni, the HAA focuses on public service that enables us to participate in worthy projects while also showcasing University-wide initiatives.” Alvarez-Bjelland, who is the HAA’s first Hispanic president and only the second international leader in the role, emphasized the need for Harvard’s continued commitment to service, not just in Cambridge, but nationally and abroad. During her tenure, she met with alumni around the world and spoke with students on campus, spreading the message about public service opportunities available through the HAA.Under the banner “Harvard Serves,” the HAA worked through the year on public service initiatives, including a “Global Month of Service” in April. The HAA travel office integrated this theme into its activities, collaborating with the Phillips Brooks House Association-Alumni (PBHA-A) on a service trip to New Orleans. In addition, the HAA Alumni Education office partnered with the PBHA-A to develop a series of Cambridge-based panel discussions that featured Harvard alumni working toward positive social change.To spotlight Harvard’s commitment to public service while making use of new technologies, the HAA partnered with the Harvard Office of Public Affairs and Communications to create “Public Service on the Map” an interactive Web site where members of the Harvard community list their public service activities and connect with others engaged in public service. Launched as a beta test in April, the map already lists hundreds of public service activities, from all Schools, and on six continents.“For me,” said Alvarez-Bjelland, “it has truly been an inspiring year. Alumni around the world embraced the theme of public service, from recent graduates to alumni who have never been actively engaged with the HAA before.”Incoming HAA President Robert R. Bowie Jr. ’73 plans to continue strengthening the alumni community by exploring some untapped power in the Harvard network. He believes that members of Harvard’s alumni community “are instantly part of a worldwide network of shared experiences and a common history. The HAA is a platform for leveraging the power of that network to help one another, to support lifelong learning, and to engage with the University.”Bowie, a founding member of the law firm Bowie & Jensen LLC and an active participant in the HAA, has served as vice president of both the University-wide and College clusters, as a member-at-large of the executive committee, and as co-chair of the schools and scholarship committee. He is the current first vice president of the HAA. He is also a playwright and poet.Alvarez-Bjelland highlighted key attributes that Bowie will bring to the HAA. “Bob is a loyal alum with years of involvement,” she said. “His dedication and his drive will strengthen the HAA and bring the alumni closer together.”Bowie looks forward to continuing his collaboration with Alvarez-Bjelland in the coming year, as well as with the other past HAA presidents on the executive committee, the HAA board, committees, and staff. “Teresita has included me in a very generous way throughout the past year,” said Bowie, “and I am grateful to be able to draw on the wealth of resources that she and all of the past HAA presidents bring to the HAA.”Bowie plans to combine his commitment to Harvard with his passion for storytelling in the coming year, collecting and sharing alumni experiences through engagement activities across the HAA. These stories will highlight the unique, yet inextricably linked, threads that alumni contribute to Harvard’s social fabric and emphasize the untapped resources that each alumnus/alumna’s experience can provide. The HAA will serve as a conduit through which the diverse members of the alumni community can enrich their own connections with the University and with one another.