The International Federation of Journalists, the world's largest organization of journalists established in 1926, has said that threats to freedom of journalism will see a significant upsurge as the Presidential Election approaches.
The federation in a report published following the observance of press freedom day, IFJ highlights the situation of freedom of press in the south asia region, noting the several challenges faced by press in the Maldives.
The report specifically notes ruling party Progressive Party of the Maldives (PPM) and government induced challenges for Maldivian press.
IFJ also highlighted the many obstacles media, especially privately owned station RaajjeTV faced upon the political turmoil triggered by the Supreme Court ruling passed by the full bench on the 01st of February.
During the prolonged 45-day state of emergency declared by incumbent President Yameen Abdul Gayoom, Journalists were apprehended and assaulted, media was threatened by government institutions with actions against them for their "unfavourable reporting" as well as ruling Progressive Party of the Maldives (PPM)'s call to shut down privately operated station, RaajjeTV.
RaajjeTV had halted it's regular broadcast on the night of 08th February given an "unfitting ambiance" for press freedom and had resumed broadcast two days later on the morning of the 11th of February.
"Where the heavy-handed closure is not a recourse, the Maldivian authorities have brought charges under draconian clauses of the law dealing with national security. A series of defamation and libel suits have been lodged to shut down any manner of criticism" reads the report.
The report highlights that it is feared that these repressions "could only worsen as the country heads towards presidential elections in October this year".