Ali Sulaiman, Seasoned Reporter Advocating for Issue-based Journalism

MV Plus | April 26, 2022

“Social media has become very powerful. Breaking news journalism doesn’t work anymore,” says Ali Sulaiman, a seasoned journalist in the Maldives who has been in the industry for over 17 years.

Before he became a well-known broadcast reporter in the country, Ali Sulaiman used to be a teacher in his home island Th. Vilufushi. He was displaced from his island to Male’ by the Tsunami of 2004, and took a job in a local newspaper afterwards.

He believes that journalists in the country needs to report more on human-interest stories, and work on more investigative journalism that adds more value to a story than shallow breaking news types.

“Many choose journalism as a transit job, especially school graduates waiting for other opportunities,” Ali Sulaiman says that many don’t choose journalism as a profession because they believe there is no future in the career.

“We have fewer students interested in the field because they don’t see a future in it, and they believe the pay is not good.”

Ali Sulaiman also believes that people might be put off by journalism in the Maldives because many media houses are running journalistic work not as a profession, but as propaganda, funded by political figures.

“I have been in this industry for over 17 years. I do not believe we have a free and fair media.”

With the development of social media, Ali Sulaiman is also a strong advocate for issue based journalism instead of breaking news.

“Within 30 minutes of something happening, people will know through social media. There’s no point for a journalist to go up on TV and report it. Instead, focus on different angles of the story, such as the human-interest side or focus on investigative journalism.”

Journalism is often a thankless job. A healthy democratic system depends on journalists, not just to keep the public informed, but also whistleblow on corruption and prioritize the citizens’ interests.