Last Updated: Monday, 15 September 2014, 14:12 GMT

UN rights expert pleased defamation no longer criminal offence in Maldives

Publisher UN News Service
Publication Date 1 December 2009
Cite as UN News Service, UN rights expert pleased defamation no longer criminal offence in Maldives, 1 December 2009, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/4b191378c.html [accessed 16 September 2014]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

An independent United Nations human rights expert today welcomed the adoption of a bill by the Parliament of the Maldives to decriminalize defamation, and urged other States to take similar action.

The bill adopted on 23 November abolishes articles 150 through 166 of the country's Penal Code, which deal with defamation of a person's "name, integrity, or dignity," which carried a sentence of exile, house detention or fine.

UN Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression, Frank La Rue, welcomed the move, which he had called for following his visit to the Maldives in March.

He also urged all States which have not already done so to repeal criminal defamation laws in favour of civil laws.

"In addition, any provisions that allow public officials to bring defamation suits with regard to their actions in public office should be totally eliminated," he stressed.

Mr. La Rue also said he looked forward to the implementation of other recommendations he made with regard to the Maldives, including the adoption of an anti-monopoly legislation, particularly with regard to communications.

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