Delivered on 19 June 2018
Delivered by Mr. Jeffrey Salim Waheed, Minister| Deputy Permanent Representative of Maldives to the United Nations Office at Geneva
My delegation welcomes the Special Rapporteur on the right to freedom of expression for his report.
The Constitution of the Maldives guarantees freedom of expression. As increased transparency and accountability are vital to the guaranteeing of the right of freedom of expression for its citizens, the Maldives enacted the Right to Information Act in January 2014 as an important step towards this objective.
The Maldives continues to stress the need for private stakeholders on the internet and using digital technologies to maintain the delicate balance between freedom of opinion and expression and enhancing privacy. Presently, the strongest driving force of the freedom of expression is the accessibility to all information that the internet provides, specifically unrestricted access to social media. The Maldives supports the unrestricted use of internet and all its platforms such as Youtube, Facebook, and Twitter, amongst many others, in line with our domestic regulations and legislation aimed at protecting the rights of our citizens. The Maldives has 4G internet coverage across the entire archipelago.
The Government of the Maldives has taken many steps to guarantee the rights of all its citizens. In August of 2016, the Parliament passed a new law on freedom of expression, which seeks to establish a framework within which competing rights of freedom of expression and the right to ptotect one’s reputation, which may be exercised as enshrined in Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) as well as Articles 33 and 27 of the Constitution of the Maldives. The new law seeks to balance the notion of democratic responsibilities with democratic freedoms, to provide a space that is safe for all people.
The Maldives believes that all citizens must exercise the rights and freedoms guaranteed to them, in a responsible and accountable manner. The Maldives will remain fully engaged to further strengthening these safeguards, and looks forward to working together with the Special Rapportuer and other international mechanisms, as well as other relevant stakeholdres, to address these collective concerns.