Rooster PR announced the launch of the Maldives’ first social media campaign on Wednesday, in which it stated that former and future guests of the Maldives were ‘highly encouraged to share their experiences and pictures of the stunning islands to engage social media users on a more personal level’.
The campaign for The Maldives Marketing and PR Corporation included a hashtag – #sunnysideoflife – with the aim of sparking tweets about people’s experiences of visiting the Maldives.
However, tweets followed such as ‘#Maldives not paradise for its people. Brutal coup regime suppressing our rights to freedom of expression & assembly’ and ‘President Nasheed and his bodyguards pepper-sprayed by Police last night’ alongside the new hashtag.
This follows claims that the Maldives’ president Mohamed Nasheed was removed from office by force in a coup d'etat in February.
Former Maldives ambassador to the UK, Farah Faizal, said: ‘This has clearly backfired. While it proves this regime is rubbish at using social media, sadly it remains excellent at repression.
‘For the people of the Maldives it's very difficult to look on the sunny side of life without democracy.’
The news follows criticism of Ruder Finn for taking on work for the Maldives government in April.