President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih has today thanked journalists for all their hard work and reiterated his commitment to press freedom, pledging that this government will not implement any regulations or measures that would undermine the independence of the media.

In an official statement given to mark the occasion of World Press Freedom Day the President, referring to a core tenet of his election campaign, emphasized that the role of journalists is not to constantly praise the government but to report accurate information to the public, and should not be averse to criticizing the incumbent administration should the need arise.

Principled and independent journalism is crucial to keeping the public well-informed, enriches public conversations on important issues and is a vital component of ensuring government accountability to its citizens.

President Solih‘s statement highlighted on the need for a good working relationship between the government and the press, stating that he would strive his utmost to ensure the transparency of his administration whilst providing easy access for journalists who have any enquiries regarding government matters.

Due to this government’s reversal of several of the previous administration’s draconian restrictions on free speech, as embodied in the now repealed Anti-Defamation Act the Maldives has improved its rank within the World Press Freedom Index by 21 places.

The public voted in this administration to restore the basic constitutional freedoms that were ignored over the past several years. We owe a debt of gratitude to the journalists who brought the previous administration’s malfeasance into daylight and alerted the public to the necessity of electing a government that would serve its interests.

We appreciate the hard work done by journalists and acknowledge, with deep sadness, that some Maldivian journalists, including Ahmed Rilwan and Yameen Rasheed, have paid the ultimate price for their principled commitment to reporting on the truth.

We will pay them tribute and honour their memory by redoubling our commitment to free speech and independent journalism, whilst ensuring that journalists will never again have to fear adverse consequence or for their safety due to their reporting.