15 March 2006

IFJ Supports Calls for More Legal Protection for Journalists in Mongolia

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) is calling for appropriate legal protection for journalists in Mongolia after a series of incidents where journalists have been censored and intimidated by government officials.

Globe International, a Mongolian media development NGO, reports ten cases since the beginning of 2006 in which journalists have been censored or harassed to try to make them reveal their sources.

“We are deeply concerned about this growing trend of censorship of journalists through threats
and intimidation in Mongolia,” said IFJ president, Christopher Warren.

“The right for journalists to protect their sources is not legally guaranteed in Mongolia, and this situation urgently needs to be addressed,” Warren said.

On December 31, 2005, Governor of the Northwestern region of Zavkhan threatened to shut down the local newspaper, Zavkhan unless it corrects a report published on December 20, 2005, which included sensitive government information in regards to the selling of a hotel.

Also on that day, the editor-in-chief of the newspaper, B. Ider, was reprimanded by a government official for not asking permission before publishing the confidential information.

In another case, a female journalist, Sh. Otgonjargal, from the national newspaper Unen (True) was harassed by a special agent from the General Intelligence Agency (GIA) about her investigation published on January 26, 2006 into the embezzlement of government funds through a construction project involving a monument to Ghengis Khan published. The agent threatened to arrest her unless she revealed her sources.

Another journalist from the newspaper Hovdyn Medee from the Hovd Province faced possible legal action after she claimed in an article published on January 1, 2006, that the airfares of the private company Air-Mongolia between Ulaanbaatar and Hovd were inflated because the local agent consistently overcharged. The Hovd agent for Air Mongolia, B. Bujinlkham, told the journalist she must reveal her sources or she will take her to court.

“We call for the Mongolian authorities to ensure this intimidation is halted and to pass a law that protects journalists and their sources, and thereby protects the freedom of the press,” said the IFJ president.

For more information please contact IFJ Asia Pacific +61 2 9333 0919

The IFJ represents more than 500,000 journalists in over 100 countries
Asia and Pacific, Mongolia, Meeting Minutes

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