Maldivian crisis worsens: TV journalist attackedView(s):
By Chandani Kirinde
The crisis in the Maldivian capital, Male, deepened yesterday following the attack on an outspoken television journalist who was rushed to Colombo for medical treatment with serious head injuries. He is being treated at a private hospital in Colombo.
Ibrahim ‘Aswad’ Waheed, Head of News of Raaje TV, an independent television channel, was attacked by a group of unidentified persons with an iron rod on Friday night as he was heading home after work in Male. He was initially taken to a local hospital but due to the serious nature of his injuries, he was rushed to Colombo, Raaje TV Chairman Akram Kamaludeen who accompanied the injured journalist to Colombo told the Sunday Times.
“He is semi-conscious, his face is badly swollen and he is on a ventilator. He is under observation for 48 hours, so we cannot know the exact extent of his injuries till then,” Mr. Kamaludeen said.
Mr. Waheed had been an outspoken critic of the Government and he had also received several warnings regarding his programs on TV, Mr. Kamaludeen said. Raaje TV has been on collision course with the government of President Mohamed Waheed after it was banned from covering the nightly protests that have been taking place in Male since former President Mohamed Nasheed sought refuge in the Indian High Commission on February 13 to evade arrest.
Meanwhile, Moosa Malik, an MP from the Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) of former President Nasheed said the Government could be behind the attack. “Since this Government took power in a coup last February, it has been destroying freedom of expression which the MDP worked hard to restore in the country,” Mr. Malik said. He was among those who visited the injured journalist in hospital in Colombo yesterday.
Meanwhile the Maldives Media Council yesterday called an indefinite strike to protest against the attack on the Raaje TV journalist as well as the attack on two state TV journalists who were attacked while they were covering protests by the MDP on Friday night. The council also decided to continue the strike until the police agree to establish a safe environment for journalists.
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