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Maldives

 
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Maldives

Media

The major daily newspaper in Maldives is Haveeru (North Side) in Male with a circulation of 2,500. Aafathis, another daily in Dhivehi and English, has a circulation of 300. Maldives also has a number of weekly and monthly publications as well as several news agencies and publishers.

Censorship exists in Maldives although on a smaller scale than before President Gayoom took office in 1978. Nevertheless, open dissent against the government is not tolerated. For example, in early 1990 the Consultative Council discussed freedom of speech in the press. But when publications critical of the government appeared in the spring of 1990, all publications that lacked government sanction were banned. Also, leading writers and publishers have been arrested.

Hindi-language films, newspapers, and magazines from India are popular. For eleven hours each day, the government radio station Voice of Maldives, established in 1962, broadcasts to the entire country in Dhivehi and English. Maldivians in 1990 had 27,848 radio receivers to pick up such broadcasts. In 1978 government-run Television Maldives was established. During the week, its one channel broadcasts for five hours a day, with an extended weekend service. However, it can only be received (by the 6,591 Maldivians with television sets in 1992) within a thirty-kilometer radius of Male. Maldives also receives broadcasts by the British Broadcasting Corporation, Radio Australia, and Radio Beijing.

Given the censorship that exists, the media play only a limited role in promoting greater democracy. A major question facing Maldives is the way in which democracy will be defined in view of the contrast between a South Asian kinship system and its egalitarian Western-style parliamentary elections.

* * *

The best recent work that provides a wealth of information on Maldives's physical environment is the relevant section of Maldives and Islands of the East Indian Ocean, A Travel Survival Kit, by Robert Willox. Additional insights into contemporary travel and ways of life in the outer islands is provided by Thor Heyerdahl in The Maldive Mystery.

Maldives's history is outlined according to official governmental views in Maldives: A Historical Overview. More candid descriptions are provided by both the above-mentioned work by Heyerdahl and Clarence Maloney's People of the Maldive Islands. Maloney's work is also an excellent source for information on modern Maldivian society, based as it is on the fieldwork of an anthropologist. Additional sources of information on Maldivian society include the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) report Status of Women: Maldives, and the official Maldives publication Maldives: Social Development. A wealth of contemporary data on all aspects of Maldives's social development can be found in "Maldives: Physical and Social Geography," in The Far East and Australasia, 1993.

The best source for a concise, yet scholarly description of the history and contemporary position of Islam in Maldives may be found in volume six of The Encyclopedia of Islam. Both the history and current situation of education in Maldives are detailed in the UNESCO report, Innovation in Primary School Construction, by M. Luthfi and H. Zubair. The recent series of reports on health conditions and care in Maldives by the World Health Organization, such as the 1989 Twenty-Four Monthly Report on Technical Aspects of Programme Implementation, is an excellent source for the study of health.

The Maldivian economy is outlined in the official Maldives: An Economic Brief, and Maldives: Year Book 1988. Additional relevant data are contained in the World Factbook, 1994, and the Europa The Far East and Australasia, 1994. Useful periodicals include the Indian Ocean Newsletter, Keesing's Contemporary Achieves, and Africa Research Bulletin. (For further information and complete citations, see Bibliography).

Data as of August 1994

Maldives - TABLE OF CONTENTS

  • GOVERNMENT AND POLITICS


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