Foreign Minister Abdullah Shahid says the threats to media freedom have taken a sinister turn in the face of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

He said this while speaking at the First Ministerial Meeting of the Media Freedom Coalition.

Minister Shahid said that the countries must redouble their efforts to protect journalists around the world.

He said that they are in the front lines, risking their lives to keep our societies well informed and that it is the duty to guarantee that they are able to report without fear and reprisal.

Minister Shahid said that free and independent media is one of the cornerstones of a democratic and just society adding that It keeps people informed and contributes to human progression. It gives a voice to the most disadvantaged.

He said that it holds politicians to account, making sure they keep their promises to the people.

Minister Shahid said that It was exactly 2 years ago, that President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih ratified the bill that repealed the Anti-Defamation Act, ending a dark chapter in the country's history where journalists had to report in an environment surrounded by fear.

He noted that the Act had been widely used by the previous government to harass independent media outlets, and imposed hefty fines on media outlets.