I was a toddler when I first joined RaajjeTV.
Back then, I couldn’t look any of my colleagues in the eye and know how many storms they’ve risen above. How many momentous waves that had tried to drown them.
However, my annoying ringtone woke me up at 5am on a day that’s ghosts have never really left my element, the 07th of October 2013. It was my supervisor asking me to rush to office, she sounded exasperated, as though she had gone on a wild goose chase, although I never got to ask her what was so important that she felt the need to wake me, (then receptionist) up at 5am, I hurried to cater to her demand.
I wasn’t fully awake until I saw the bellowing smoke from BKT Building, my second home. I was in denial for days that the place where I took my baby steps into my career, had been burnt down.
“Is this the end of RaajjeTV?” dawned the question that nearly broke my heart.
Although the losses incurred were hard to recover, the station got back on its feet and was running within hours. These details are important because this was the day during the first few days of my career that I realized the applause RaajjeTV was, and is getting, is not better deserved by any other broadcaster.
RaajjeTV still remains in hope that they will be served justice for the arson attack by a group of masked men who had broken into the station’s main studio and control room, doused it in petrol and lit it ablaze. A frenzied management still continues in its efforts to seek compensation from the authorities, to no avail. The criminal proceedings into the perpetrators have also been stalled for over a year.
Right when we thought we had seen it all, the administration of former President Abdulla Yameen decided to implement an Anti-Defamation Bill in 2016, which was used to torment the station upon implementation. RaajjeTV was slapped with numerous fines next two years. The number of fines imposed reaches MVR 3.7 million.
Since 2012, RaajjeTV’s staff has been on the receiving end of multiple threats and harassment. I myself, remember days when young men would race past the building where our office is located, just screaming threats at whoever stood outside the office. Especially during the Presidential Election in 2013, the station’s employees would be followed, openly threatened and some assaulted.
Eight years ago, a team of resilient servers was formed to serve the nation. The management that wouldn’t kneel down to intimidation from the very beginning.
Born on the 15th of December 2015, RaajjeTV has created some of the finest journalists the country has seen.
Many have come and left under the care of the station’s management. Many have taken their first steps into journalism through the station.
Like a frightened five-year old who clung onto his father before finally succeeding to balance himself on his first ever bicycle, like a toddler who tumbles and falls face-first into the dirt before she is given a gentle embrace and encouraged to try again. Those baby steps have since turned into confident strides on a solid foundation to set a major milestone.
Success did not come to RaajjeTV overnight or in the blink of an eye. There were days the entire team paddled through the worst of storms, crawled forth while stones and sticks were being thrown at them and even days when we’ve had to shut ourselves down because it got that much worse. The storms did not pass, the sea was still rough. The sun didn’t dawn to a brighter day for the team for a long time but there was no giving up until it became the tree that bore fruit.
Today, RaajjeTV has become one of the most famed television stations across the nation, with a team that still empowers the rights of civilians and urges authorities to lead the country in the path of peace and justice.
A tiny seedling, eight years later, now a successful fruit bearer.