President Mohamed Waheed Hassan Manik has ratified the Freedom of Peaceful Assembly Bill passed by the Parliament on December 25, 2012.
Following the ratification the Freedom of Peaceful Assembly Act has been published in the Government Gazette.
As per the bill gatherings near the headquarters of the Maldives National Defence Force (MNDF), headquarters of the Maldives Police Service (MPS), mosques, schools, courts, President’s Office, Parliament, President’s residence and hospitals can only be held 200 feet away.
The bill stipulates that demonstrations against a particular person cannot be held in front of their residence after 10:00 at night and loudspeakers and other sound amplifying equipment cannot be used after 8:00 at night, and similarly such equipment cannot be used in a gathering held near a school or hospital at anytime.
It is also required under the bill that journalists covering such demonstrations should be accredited as per the Media Accreditation Regulation, and that the Maldives Media Council should draft a Journalist Accreditation Regulation within a month of the ratification and implementation of the bill.
The Bill specifies types of gatherings and stipulates that prior consent is not required to stage a gathering but if the gathering is a planned one a prior notice of the gathering should be provided to the Police. The Bill also states circumstances under which the right to assembly can be narrowed down.