Assessment of media development in the Maldives

Based on UNESCO’s Media Development Indicators

Based on UNESCO's Media Development Indicators (MDIs) this Report assesses the overall state of media development in the Maldives. In 2008 the Maldives adopted a new Constitution. However, there is still much to be done with respect to media freedom in the Maldives. The MDIs Report takes into account the special situation of the country, particularly in terms of its size and consequent relative lack of capacity, and makes recommendations to assist the Maldives with their media development.

The Maldives report was a rapid assessment written in regards to an urgent need for the assessment of media development at time when the country was in the process of adopting fundamental constitutional and judicial reforms. The report therefore constitutes a lighter application of the MDI methodology. The preparation of this assessment was based on interviews conducted during a mission to the Maldives in 2009 and supplemented by information provided by email, and a review of the available literature.

In the late-2000s the Maldives began to relax media laws and to license private stations. In 2007, the government reported on the need to create a legal framework for the media and aimed to address this, among other things, in its 2008 Constitution. However, many remaining problems were highlighted in the 2009 MDI assessment and recommendations were made in regards to: media legislation being in line in with international standards, a need for independent regulators and the removal of undue restrictions on media content. Measures also need to be taken to ensure greater access to television and the internet for underprivileged people and a longer term ICT policy plan developed and implemented.

 

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This assessment is based on UNESCO’s Media Development Indicators (MDIs), which were endorsed in 2008 by the International Programme for the Development of Communication (IPDC). MDIs, which cover all aspects of media development, define a framework within which the media can best contribute to, and benefit from, good governance and democratic development. They are being applied in various countries worldwide to identify their specific needs in view of guiding the formulation of media-related policies and improving the targeting of media development efforts.

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