Breaking News, Opposition Protest

Senior members of several opposition parties got together Monday night and approached President Gayoom’s residence. They said they wanted to have a meeting about the process of ratifying the new constitution, but they were turned away because they didn’t have an appointment. A crowd gathered, estimated by police at 1,500 people. Things escalated to the point where several people were arrested. Here is the link to the story in the Haveeru newspaper.

The pictures and captions are from the Minivan news service, which is not accredited.
It wasn’t a good night for TV Maldives. A TVM cameraman was roughed up and police detained a news vehicle that was attempting to rush the footage back to the station. The private station, DhiTV, was first with the video. When TVM did get on the air with live coverage, it was an interview with the president’s official spokesmen. Other government officials also were interviewed about the constitutional process. However, the footage of the protest and the arrests was not shown until much later. I am told there was a technical problem with turning around the tape. No one likes to get beat on a story and the journalists at TVM are no exception. We are trying to do better job as the developments continue to unfold and we will try to be fearless — and fair to all.

Update: the next day, the opposition alliance held a news conference to say it would continue to pressure the president, by all legal means possible, to sign the constitution and go forward with the election. TVM was first with the story, despite the fact that the rival station was next door to the news coference location and we had to ship the tape across town! while star reporters Ziayaa and Rilwan did an excellent job on deadline, a few people in the newsroom don’t understand the importance of turning around tape and scripts quickly, because they never had competition before. We’ll have to work on this.
Another accomplishment: the first “cold open” in the history of TVM news. We had some excellent natsound of protestors yelling “Maumoon resign!” so we opened the newscast with the natural sound to draw the viewer into the story. It’s historic for another reason: protestors were never shown on TV before our training began, and certainly not anyone critical of the government. Now we strive to present a balance of views, both government AND opposition.