RaajjeMV has filed a case at the police, after an article written by one of its journalists surfaced in two other publications.
A report written in Dhivehi by journalist Amna Imad titled “Covid-19 a test which has shown President Solih’s patience and diligence’ was published in local news websites CNM and Feshun Online.
In its letter to the police, RaajjeMV described this as a violation of Article 3 of the country’s Copyright and Related Rights Act.
While both CNM and Feshun Online had released statements saying that they obtained the writing via a “contributor” without releasing the said person’s identity, RaajjeMV said this is against Chapter 310 ‘Forgery and Fraudulent Practices’ of the Penal Code.
Citing Section 212 of the Penal Code, RaajjeMV also described this as a ‘theft by deception’. Hence, it called for a criminal investigation against the parties involved and to ensure that the public is informed of the truth in the matter ‘as soon as possible’.
RaajjeMV also asked the police to conduct a forensic analysis, highlighting that the outlet has the electronic evidence to prove that the report was written by its journalist.
While RaajjeMV is seeking a criminal investigation over the issue, Maldives Media Council (MMC) has also reviewed the matter.
The council said that the issue was probed following a request by Addu-Meedhoo constituency MP and the chair of the parliament’s committee on independent institution, Rozaina Adam.
While MMC has since publicized its report on the case, it did not take any action against any of the publications. However, a warning was issued to Feshun Online.
The report also highlighted that both CNM and Feshun Online had published the article in a way which leads to the assumption that it was written by a member of the team while infact both publications have admitted that it was provided by a contributor.
MMC stressed that this is against the country’s media laws.
Further noting that both CNM and Feshun Online have said that the writing was provided by a contributor, MMC said that the latter had failed to provide any documents to prove this during the review.
The council report also proves that the report was first published by RaajjeMV, and then by Feshun Online and CNM respectively. The latter two have since removed the writing.
In light of this and other issues noticed during the investigation, MMC’s report includes areas where online news outlets can improve to ensure that such issues do not repeat. This includes establishing an editorial policy for publishing op-eds or writings from contributors, as well as strengthening internal policies to minimize plagiarism and how to act when deleting already published articles.