Private broadcaster Raajje TV had its service terminated across the Maldives after intruders broke into the station and cut critical cables in the control room early this morning.
Deputy CEO of Raajje TV Abdulla Yamin told Minivan News that the cables had were vandalised some time between 7:00am and 8:00am.
“We suspect that the attack was by a person who knows this place and the functioning of Raajje TV very well,” Yamin said. “It has caused us millions of rufiya in damage because we have lost our reputation in front of our sponsors.”
Yamin said that the cables will cost more than Rf 100,000 (US$6666) to replace, and that it will take two days before the station can resume broadcasting.
“They shut down the electricity for the whole building which caused our electric lock systems to fail,” he said. “We suspect that either the culprit knows this place very well, or that this was done with the cooperation from a person who knew the place very well.’’
Yamin said the case was reported to police this morning.
‘’Police officers came over today but we have not heard from them since,’’ he added.
Police Spokesperson Sub-Inspector Hassan Haneef did not respond to Minivan News at time of press.
Meanwhile, the Maldives Broadcasting Corporation has condemned the attack on Raajje TV and has said that the intention of the attack was to obstruct the freedom of speech and journalism.
The Commission called on police to conduct an investigation into the case at a fast speed, and also called on police to withdraw an earlier decision to stop cooperating with Raajje TV.
On July 24, the police announced they would stop cooperating with Raajje TV, claiming that the opposition-aligned TV station was broadcasting false and slanderous content about the police which had undermined their credibility and public confidence.
The decision came just a day after Raajje TV broadcasted CCTV video footage of some police officers, who the station alleged were “caught on video” while they were stealing petrol from a motorbike parked in a small road in Male’.
Raajje TV also recently aired footage of police pepper-spraying former President Mohamed Nasheed during a protest rally, an act which attracted widespread criticism from the Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) and international groups.
Police in a statement had denied pepper-spraying the former President, and urged the MDP “to publish statements responsibly.”