Preserving Culture and Heritage - · Provide easy access to land by tyndale



      While Maldives is experiencing unprecedented levels of progress and modernisation, globalisation (the
      spread of popular mass culture) is leading slowly to the loss of a sense of Maldivian identity and
      community especially among Maldivian youth. This phenomenon is of concern because it is the sense of
      national identity, that forms the foundation of national pride and stability that has allowed for growth and
      modernization. Thus, a redefining of the Maldivian national identity through its culture and heritage has
      become of utmost importance.


         1.    There is an urgent need for documentation, preservation and conservation of the tangible and
               intangible cultural heritage of the Maldives. The potential for tourism to enhance and conserve
               Maldivian cultural heritage needs to be recognised. At the same time inter-ministerial and
               institutional coordination, which is essential to preserve and promote Maldivian heritage, needs
               to be strengthened.

         2.    Intangible Maldivian heritage (folklore, music, crafts, medicine etc) and traditions are
               disappearing. Not enough documentation and research has been done to make this heritage
               relevant to modern day life or to develop it for the tourist market. A clear mandate needs to be
               granted for a competent authority to research and promote traditional Maldivian handicrafts and
               explore the unsatisfied demand for local traditional products. Furthermore, the rich oral
               traditions of the Maldives such as mythological stories of love told in raivaru (poetry) have
               potential for development into performing arts.

         3.    The greatest constraint for the culture and heritage sector is a general lack of awareness of the
               importance of protecting the national tangible and intangible heritage for ensuring its
               preservation and development. Enough emphasis on Maldivian geography, history and heritage
               (tangible and intangible) is not provided in primary and secondary schools.

         4.    Out of the forty odd staff at the NCLHR, the primary national agency for cultural management
               and protection, only two are graduates. No trained experts (or even graduates) are available in the
               fields of history, archaeology, conservation and preservation, heritage management, museum
               management or museology, archive management or any related fields.

         5.    The Historical and Cultural Property Law of the Republic of Maldives (Law No: 27/79) was
               passed in 1979. The law is vague and does not clearly define cultural and historical property and
               has no rules regarding trade and export of heritage items. Therefore, an appropriate legal
               framework is essential for promoting and preserving culture and heritage.
Policy 52    Preserve and promote the cultural heritage of the Maldives


·   Increase emphasis on teaching Dhivehi language, Maldivian history and culture and
    geography in the national curriculum.

·   Increase the use of the mother tongue, i.e., the Dhivehi language in schools.

·   Improve inter-ministerial and institutional cooperation and co-ordination in heritage
    education, preservation and promotion.

·   Increase the utilisation of resources (print as well as audio-video media) on Maldivian
    cultural heritage in course materials at school.

·   Increase public awareness amongst specific target groups such as Atoll chiefs, youth and
    school children regarding culture and heritage for sustainable development, preservation of
    culture and heritage as well as enrichment of national identity.

·   Expand the use of Dhivehi language in the area of Information Technology.

Policy 53    Develop institutional and local technical capacity for conservation and research
             into language, history, culture and related areas


·   Train specialists in Heritage management, History, Archaeology, Museology, Archives
    management, Anthropology and Linguistics.

·   Seek specialist support from abroad to conduct training programmes in heritage

·   Create a separate heritage management section within the NCLHR.

·   Conduct a thorough review of the scope, function, organisational structure, and
    administration of these institutions. A management audit should also be carried out of the
    main institutions responsible for heritage management and cultural development and
    adjustments in their management should be made accordingly.

Policy 54    Strengthen the legal framework for the protection of the national heritage


·   Draft a law covering all different types of cultural heritage and cultural property.

·   Make an official national inventory of Maldivian heritage and document each heritage item.

Policy 55    Explore the potential for tourism to conserve and enhance Maldivian culture and


·   Explore the feasibility of developing heritage tours for tourists.

·   Initiate a program for promoting manufacturing of Maldivian handicrafts by local artisan for
    sale as souvenirs to tourists.

       National radio and television services, and publication of newspapers and journals, have made
       tremendous progress over the past twenty years. Radio and television have been, and still are, an
       important public tool for promoting national unity, information provision, and awareness raising and
       entertainment. However, the full potential of the media (radio, television, print media, and internet) as an
       agent of socio-economic development has yet to be realized. This potential of the media as an agent of
       development is reflected in this Plan, unlike previous NDPs.


          1. Greatest obstacle for enhancing the role of media in the development process is due to lack of an
             adequate number of trained people in the various media services (television, radio and news

          2. Over the past NDP period, both television and radio development has been following concrete
             plans. However, these plans need to be brought together into a comprehensive long-term plan that
             incorporates television, radio and print media development.

          3. Although guidelines regarding journalistic rights and responsibilities are available, these are not
             widely understood or followed by the journalistic community. And enforcement of these
             guidelines are also challenging. Therefore, strategies are needed to create guidelines incorporating
             the input of journalists and a mechanism to enforce them.

          4. National radio and television is accessible to those living on all islands, but many islands need to
             utilize satellite dish-antennas to access the signal, limiting access to those who can afford it.

          5. Accurate information on radio and television usage and media content is unavailable. Such
             information is essential to plan media development and to minimize its negative social impact. It is
             believed that unregulated access to international satellite television viewing is having a negative
             social impact, particularly on children.

          6. While internet can become a powerful medium for communication and information provision, the
             high cost of using internet limits it usage in the country, particularly in the Atolls.

                Policy 56    Strengthen the technical capacity of the media services


                ·   Conduct a needs assessment and produce a human resource development plan to enhance the
                    provision of media services in the country.

                ·   Provide opportunities for media specialists to obtain necessary long-term and higher
                    education training abroad.

                ·   Increase opportunities for local media professionals to obtain professional experience

                ·   Introduce local training courses of good standards for media personnel, including television
                    and radio production and journalism.

                Policy 57    Improve the quality of broadcasting and media content


                ·   Conduct a study to identify needs to improve and expand media services and develop a long-
                    term strategic plan.

                ·   Review the existing guidelines regarding journalistic responsibilities and freedom.
·   Set-up a media association or board (an arms-length organization) to set standards, regulate
    and raise the quality of media content.

·   Pave the way, through private participation, for the public to view good quality international
    channels, particularly those focusing on education and current affairs.

·   Utilize Information Technology to expand equitable access to media, particularly for those in
    the Atolls, at an affordable rate.

·   Increase educational and current affairs content in television and radio.

·   Facilitate private involvement in the provision of internet.

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