The criticism came after Ruder Finn was blasted by British-based pro-democracy group Friends of Maldives for accepting a brief to promote a tourism drive by the Maldives government. This followed claims that president Mohamed Nasheed was removed in a coup d’etat in February.
Agency boss Nick Leonard had not faced protesters himself as he was on holiday.
But he defended the agency’s actions, saying: ‘I believe in freedom of speech and they have the right to voice their opinion.’
A Rooster PR social media campaign for the Maldives Government was also hijacked last week. People posted tweets such as: ‘Brutal coup regime suppressing our rights to freedom of expression and assembly’ alongside campaign hashtag #sunnysideoflife.