President Nasheed has said that he would make the Maldives a safe haven for writers from Myanmar and opposition journalists from other countries. The President made the statement during his meeting with the Special Rapporteur on Opinion and Freedom of Expression Mr Frank La Rue today.

Speaking at the meeting, the President said that the Government had opened up the state media and he was working to relinquish all its control over the state media and to make it equally accessible for all parties. The President also noted the difficulties faced by the print media and said that the government is trying to attract foreign investments to develop the sector.

Special Rapporteur Mr La Rue congratulated the President on the progress his Government was able to achieve in the field of freedom of expression in the Maldives. Mr La Rue said that he had witnessed people expressing their views freely without any fear in the country.

During the meeting, Vice President Dr Mohamed Waheed spoke of the need for the Maldives to be heard in international forums and media in issues related to climate change. Mr La Rue said that he would do everything he could to help Maldives to get more coverage and attention in climate related issues.

UN Special Rapportuer Mr La Rue also met with the Press Secretary at the President’s Office Mr Mohamed Zuhair this morning. Speaking at the meeting, Mr Zuhair said that freedom of expressing opposition views is wide open in the Maldives. He further said that the Government had called on the state media to give equal access for all opposition parties.

Mr La Rue hailed the Government’s emphasis on protecting and promoting human rights and greater freedom of expression.