Faced with demonstrations for political and social change, President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom chose to react with force, using police crackdowns and news censorship. In this climate, democratic leader and journalist Mohamed Nasheed was arrested a few weeks after his return from exile. The management of the daily Minivan, launched in July 2005 by people close to the Maldivian Democratic Party, have suffered repeated lawsuits and arrests.
The sentencing of journalist Jennifer Latheef to ten years in prison marked a new stage in a crackdown against the opposition press. Minivan, which employed her, was forced to appear in August in photocopied form after its printer was threatened by the security services. Previously two of its journalists and a photographer were arrested. In total, five journalists on Minivan are facing some kind of legal action. An arrest warrant has been issued against the editor Aminath Najeeb.
During legislative elections in January, government media, especially the Voice of the Maldives, only allocated a very small amount of space to the opposition. The leading newspaper, Haveeru, is controlled by the former minister for youth and sport. The daily Aafathis is owned by the brother-in-law of President Gayoom, while the third daily, Miadhu Daily, is directly controlled by the head of state. Information minister, Ahmed Abdullah, heads the editorial team.