Journalists in the Maldives have demonstrated in the capital to demand that the government investigate attacks against the media and withdraw a proposed criminal defamation law.

About 50 journalists representing nearly all media organizations participated in the protest Friday, less than a week after police broke up a rally by journalists and activists who accused the government of stifling press freedom. Nineteen participants in that rally were arrested and later released.

The protesters Friday demanded an investigation into the 2014 disappearance of journalists working for an opposition-aligned website and attacks on media offices.

President Yameen Abdul Gayoom's ruling party has proposed a law in Parliament that would criminalize defamation and punish it with heavy fines and jail terms.