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Maldives TV station shuts down amid political crisis following threats

President Yameen Abdul Gayoom declared a state of emergency after supreme court justices ordered the release of political prisoners.

A privately-owned television station in the Maldives has gone off the air because of threats during the country’s current state of emergency.

Rajje TV, which highlights the views of the political opposition, said it stopped broadcasting because the country’s environment does not allow journalists to report freely and independently.

It said a mob had gathered at the station and called for it to be burned down, and government ministers had asked the broadcasting regulator to close it.

It said the regulator, the Maldives Broadcasting Commission, has been taken over by the military, and police have withdrawn security for the television station despite the threats.

The station said: “Given the present circumstances, especially with the curtailing of the right to free media, we have no choice but to suspend our regular services to ensure the safety and security of our station and our staff.”

President Yameen Abdul Gayoom declared a state of emergency after the supreme court ordered the release and retrial of his jailed political opponents.

However, the court reversed its decision after police arrested two of its judges and accused them of accepting bribes to work against the government.

Rajje TV was burned down ahead of the 2013 presidential election. No-one has been convicted over the case.

The Maldives, known for its expensive tourist resorts, became a multi-party democracy 10 years ago after decades of autocratic rule.

Mr Yameen has rolled back much of the democratic gains since being elected in 2013.

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