Thursday, December 17, 2009

Subsidised journalism

The main obstacle to independent journalism in Maldives was the state control during the previous regime. People yelled left and right to give media freedom and to remove the influence by the state. Now that media has somewhat been freed, the Maldives Journalist Association (MJA) is saying they can't be too free! They claim they need financial support from the state via subsidies to keep the government accountable. They claim that their independence will not be compromised if the subsidy were allocated by the state, rather than the government (forgetting to mention that the government is a subset of the state). Hmm, makes one wonder, who is going to make the state accountable then?

Of course, its not for the love of money they are doing it, it is only for the social good "to protect and preserve independent journalism in the country". If not, its doomsday and "would have an adverse effect on this burgeoning democracy".

President of MJA said "We have 300,000 people [in the Maldives] and that’s not enough of a market for fully private enterprise". I wonder where he has been living all these years. It is the fully private enterprise that gives us the pen, pencil, paper, computers, phones, contractors, engineers, architects, lawyers etc. Sure, lots of them studies on scholarships, but the services they provide are available in the realm of private enterprise, and don't rely on state subsidies. Maybe the contractors, engineers, architects, lawyers, teachers and others should ask for subsidies. They are a vital part of a functioning society.

This guy proposes to give subsidies based on circulation, and this guy's newspaper (Haveeru) is the most circulated. Maybe just coincidence? He also goes on to state that fully privatising media ownership would consolidate control in the hands of a few wealthy individuals. Well it already is. Maybe he should concentrate on abolishing the high fees charged for licensing by TAM, which the MJA itself criticises. That will be more beneficial for the upstarts, and prevents consolidation in the hands of the wealthy.


Anonymous said...

The Free Media is Free to say whatever the President wants them to say. It's been like that before. It's more like that now. And it's going to stay that way.

Ziyaa said...

very correct! 'no sane dog bites the hand that feed it'