President Mohamed Nasheed has called on the Prosecutor General to make defamation a civil offence instead of a criminal offence. The President made this statement while speaking at a function he hosted on the occasion of world press freedom day.

The President noted that the democracy and freedom of expression were at an early phase in the Maldives. He also spoke on the importance of upholding the right to information which is enshrined in the Constitution.

President Nasheed also said he believed that it was inappropriate for a government to subsidies newspapers and that his government planned to stop subsidising the newspapers.

Speaking at the function, the President also said that criticising the government was not an issue and thanked all the local media. Furthermore, the President said that we have now achieved greater press freedom and noted the crucial role played by Dhivehiobeserver, Minivan Radio and E’ Sandhaanu in achieving these freedoms.

President also said that about 60 percent of the population support his government but there were no pro-government local newspapers. He also said that his government does not wish to change this by subsidising the newspapers.