Pro-opposition Maldives broadcaster shuts over threats

Raajje TV said threats to its employees over their reporting on the political crisis in the picturesque Indian Ocean archipelago had forced it to suspend broadcasts. (Courtesy Raajje TV Facebook)
Updated 09 February 2018
0

Pro-opposition Maldives broadcaster shuts over threats

MALE, Maldives: A pro-opposition television network in the Maldives shut down Friday following threats to its staff, as the government continued a clampdown on dissent that has sparked international concern.
Raajje TV said threats to its employees over their reporting on the political crisis in the picturesque Indian Ocean archipelago had forced it to suspend broadcasts.
“The broadcaster received threats from government legislators and others,” said opposition lawmaker Eva Abdulla.
The Maldives was plunged into crisis this week when President Abdulla Yameen declared a state of emergency and ordered the arrest of judges who had ordered the release of his political opponents.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has urged Yameen to lift the state of emergency while UN human rights chief Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein has described Yameen’s actions as “an all-out assault on democracy.”
On Thursday a top UN official warned the Security Council that the situation was tense and may deteriorate even further.
Street protests have so far been relatively muted, but opposition and ruling parties have called their supporters onto the streets for rallies after Friday prayers.
Yameen, who has had almost all the political opposition jailed since he came to power in 2013, is resisted mounting international pressure over the crisis.
On Thursday he refused to meet with diplomats from the European Union, Germany and Britain who had traveled to the honeymoon island nation for talks.
China, India and several Western governments have advised their citizens against traveling to the Maldives in the light of the latest unrest.


Barack and Michelle’s next act: TV deal with Netflix

Updated 22 May 2018
0

Barack and Michelle’s next act: TV deal with Netflix

  • The Obamas will have hands-on involvement in producing content and will appear personally in some of the shows while curating others
  • Under the name Higher Ground Productions, the Obamas have the option to produce scripted and unscripted series, documentaries and feature films

LOS ANGELES: Former US President Barack Obama and his wife, Michelle Obama, have struck a deal to produce films and series for Netflix Inc, the streaming service said on Monday, giving the former first couple a powerful and unprecedented platform to shape their post-White House legacy.
Under the name Higher Ground Productions, the Obamas have the option to produce scripted and unscripted series, documentaries and feature films, Netflix said in a statement.
The Obamas will have hands-on involvement in producing content and will appear personally in some of the shows while curating others, said a person familiar with the deal.
Terms of the multi-year deal were not disclosed and the first of the programming is not expected to reach viewers until about May 2019, the person said.
The agreement between the Obamas and Netflix, which boasts some 125 million subscribers worldwide, is a first for any occupant of the White House.
The closest comparison is former US Vice President Al Gore, whose global warming documentary “An Inconvenient Truth” won an Oscar in 2007. Gore also launched a youth-oriented cable TV network, Current TV, in 2005 but it was sold to Middle-East based Al Jazeera in 2013, which later shut it down.
The Obamas gave no details of the topics they planned to cover but the content is not expected to be directly political.
Barack Obama in a statement recalled the “fascinating people” from all walks of life that he had met during his eight years in office, ending in January 2017.
“We hope to cultivate and curate the talented, inspiring, creative voices who are able to promote greater empathy and understanding between peoples, and help them share their stories with the entire world,” he added.
Netflix chief content officer Ted Sarandos said in a statement that the Obamas are “uniquely positioned to discover and highlight stories of people who make a difference in their communities and strive to change the world for the better.”
The deal with the Obamas also marks one of the biggest coups for Netflix in drawing top-level talent away from traditional Hollywood studios and television networks.
In the past year, Netflix has cut deals with Shonda Rhimes, the woman behind hits like “Scandal” and “Grey’s Anatomy,” and Emmy-winning Ryan Murphy, who created “Glee” and directed the TV series “American Crime Story.”
Netflix, which has budgeted $8 billion for programming in 2018, is also producing Martin Scorsese’s next film starring Robert De Niro and Al Pacino.
Barack Obama was the first guest on David Letterman’s return to television in an extended talk show format with Netflix that debuted in January.