WASHINGTON, April 12, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The National Press Club on Tuesday expressed concern over reports about rough treatment of a group of journalists gathered to protest worsening press freedoms in the Maldives.
Earlier this month, police used tear gas at close range and manhandled a group of reporters who were conducting a sit-in protest outside the office of President Abdulla Yameen in the capital of Male, according to news reports. Authorities reportedly briefly arrested 16 journalists.
The Maldives Independent news organization said the journalists were protesting the court-ordered closure of a daily newspaper, the lack of progress in an investigation into the 2014 abduction of journalist Ahmed Rilwan, and a draft law that would criminalize defamation.
"We are deeply troubled by reports of tear-gassing and manhandling of journalists who were understandably frustrated by a series of moves by the Maldives government that would likely make independent, critical reporting in the country more difficult," said Thomas Burr, National Press Club president. "We will continue to closely monitor events in the Maldives and urge authorities to be protectors, not opponents, of press freedom."
The National Press Club, founded in 1908 and based in Washington, D.C., is the world's leading professional organization for journalists. Through its Press Freedom Committee, the Club speaks out for press freedom and transparency worldwide.
Contact: Rachel Oswald, Press Freedom Committee vice-chair: firstname.lastname@example.org, 202 486 9173.
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SOURCE National Press Club