A bill to amend the Evidence Act has been proposed to the Parliament of the Maldives. Parliamentarian Mohamed Wisam proposed the bill to amend the law which makes it compulsory for journalists to disclose their source of information.
AGO drafted the bill amid concerns from journalists and the media that section 136(b) of the Evidence Act, as it stands, does not define terrorism offenses and national security threats, and that a court could compel journalists to disclose sources in such cases.
The amendment defines national security offenses as those involving acts that cause serious harm to the sovereignty or body or property of a person or group, and terrorism offenses as defined in Chapter II of the Prevention of Terrorism Act. The amendment states that the prosecutor general is allowed to request the court to issue an order for journalists or their place of employment to reveal their sources in relation to terrorism-related cases. It also states that evidence needs to be provided to the court to make such a request within 14 days after the case is submitted to court.
AGO stated the bill to amend the Evidence Act was drafted after consultations with the Maldives Journalists Association (MJA), the Maldives Editors Guild (MEG), and other relevant bodies.