Maldives: Journalists arrested after media protest
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Maldives: Journalists arrested after media protest

A GROUP of 16 journalists in Maldives were arrested yesterday following a media demonstration to protest the government’s alleged move to stifle press freedom.

According to the Associated Press, police arrested the 16 journalists after breaking up the demonstration which was held near the president’s office.

The journalists protested against a government move to criminalize defamation and other measures allegedly taken against the media. President Yameen Abdul Gayoom’s ruling party has presented a defamation bill in parliament that proposes heavy fines and jail terms for defamation.

Police used pepper spray to disperse the protesters, and made the arrests.

Police or government officials could not be immediately reached for comment.

The Maldives, a South Asian archipelago nation known mainly for its luxury resorts, became a multiparty democracy in 2008 after decades of autocratic rule. However, democratic gains have been rapidly declining in recent years.

Additional reporting by Associated Press