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Family history book banned in Maldives
Maldives Culture special report
29 June 2003

book censorship in maldives

Dhandikoshi, a book detailing the history of Male's Dhandikoshi clan, has been confiscated by President Gayyoom's National Security Service within days of its release. The book also contained a reprint of an article about the rise of President Mohamed Ameen by Mandhu Waheed, published earlier in the National Centre for Linguistic and Historical Research's Faiythoora magazine, and another section examining the downfall of Ameen authored by Mohamed Nasheed [elected president 2008].

Dandikoshi was edited and published by the Orient Academic Centre in Male', headed by historian and former reformist politician Mohamed Nasheed. After nearly three years of research, and eight months' preparation, the book was thoroughly vetted by the Public Examinations Department of the Ministry of Education, and granted a permit to publish on 19 May 2003.

On Friday 13 June, a public holiday in Maldives and two days after the book's release at Asrafee Bookshop in Male', two young girls from the Public Examinations Department arrived at Nasheed's residence and delivered a letter which cancelled the permit.

The following Sunday when government offices were open again, Nasheed was told the reason for the abrupt and irregular cancellation was because the Public Examinations department now thought the book could produce 'public confusion', 'enmity among families', and 'social unrest' that could 'undermine national security'. The department did not explain why it had originally granted a permit for the book and then cancelled it.

Government sources claim the publishers of Dhandikoshi have presented them with a bill for damages of nearly Rf100,000 (approx. US$8,000).

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