Encouraging results, promises to keep
For press freedom, the first half of 2018 was no different from the preceding years under Abdulla Yameen, who was elected president in 2013. Maldives fell steadily in the World Press Freedom Index under Yameen, from 103rd in 2013 to 120th in 2018. His defeat by challenger Mohamed Solih in the presidential election in September 2018 raised hopes, as Solih had given some specific pledges on improving press freedom. One promise has been kept: two months after the elections, parliament repealed the draconian 2016 law on defamation, which had been widely used by the previous government to harass independent media outlets, especially Raajje TV, which had to pay a total of 215,000 euros in fines for allegedly defaming Yameen. Police violence against journalists increased sharply during the first half of 2018 but is not currently an issue. However, impunity for crimes against journalists remains. The police never found Ahmed Rilwan Abdulla, a journalist who disappeared in August 2014, and they did not identify his abductors. And the murder of Yameen Rasheed, a blogger who was stabbed to death in April 2017, remains unpunished.
120 in 2018
37.95 in 2018