One of the banned websites, randomreflexions.com, an English language one, was reportedly targeted because it evoked debates and discussions around Islam. And, at least one of the banned websites, raajjeislam.com, may have been targeted for political reasons since it exposed tyranny by a state minister at the Islamic ministry.
The Maldives internet community is a vibrant space which for the last 5 years or so have seen the articulation of a wide range of thematic preoccupations in contemporary Maldives. Religion, politics, sexuality, drug abuse, paedophilia, amongst other subjects have been debated in far greater depth on the internet than in the conventional media.
When president Anni created a ministry for the conservative religious party Adhaalath's Abdul Majeed Bari and other hardliners as a reward for their "support" to the coalition, many internet writers expressed unease. Now the sentiments appear justified. The Islamic ministry is blocking dissent, debate, and discussion, in the name of Islam, and president Anni is pretending not to see.
Anni can't have imagined that a week after he announced his intention of turning the Maldives into a safe haven for the world's dissidents, he would have to block websites and send in police to crackdown on protesting resort workers.
While the very foundations of our fledgeling democracy are being threatened, the new president, for now, is chosing to turn the other way and chase international headlines.
Anni has just announced that the Maldives is to go carbon neutral in 2020, to combat the threat facing the world's environment.
It remains to be seen if Anni will turn to the threat facing Maldivian democracy any time soon.