Press release from CMJ on celebration of World Press Freedom Day

cmj_admin  |   2017-05-08  |   HIGHLIGHTS / OVERVIEW / Activity

Confederation of Mongolian Journalists and Globe International Center, with support from UNESCO Beijing Office and Open Society Forum, marked World Press Freedom Day 2017 on May 3 under the theme "Critical minds for critical times: media’s role in advancing peaceful, just and inclusive societies.”

The event took place in Open Society Forum’s conference hall and more than 90 journalists, media workers, representatives of international organizations, observers and politicians gathered at the event.

In an interview with press during the celebration, CMJ’s President B.Galaarid said there’s one thing politicians must understand.

"One of the most valued aspects of democracy is the right to know and politicians should never break it,” he said. "If politicians understand it deeply, it means they respect citizens’ right to know, press freedom, as well as people’s freedom. It is not about granting journalists privilege,”

At the event, Media Freedom Report 2016 was presented and according to the report as, a total of 519 cases had been registered so far and at least one case was reported each week, of January 2017.

"In 57.4% of registered cases, journalists’ rights and freedom of expression were violated by high-ranking public officials, government organizations or authorities,” the report noted.

The report also stated, "The parliament passed the Law on Public Radio and Television on 27 January 2005. Since then, no legal regulation has been adopted to broadly address programs which are important in the media sector, along with the protection of confidential sources and whistleblowers, fair competition, and ownership transparency. Numerous drafts of new media freedom law were developed, however State Great Khural has yet to discuss the final version or pass it.”

On April 27 this year, over ten television stations went dark and abandoned their regular programming to broadcast a message that read, "People’s right to know is under major threat,” and all daily newspapers published the same message on their front pages. In response to proposed articles in a bill on misdemeanors, this protest came from CMJ in conjunction with Mongolian media unions and organizations’ statement against the draft Law on Conflict, which is related to the press freedom a day before the law would be approved by the parliament.

The proposed legislation would allow the police to impose up to 100 million tugrik ($41,000) of fines for spreading libelous or defamatory information, without going through the courts.

After this protest, the parliament member who initiated the article of the draft law on Conflict retracted the proposal. Mongolian press unions and organizations led by CMJ have been releasing statements since February against the articles of the draft laws on Broadcast and Conflict, in order to defend freedom of the press. CMJ and media organizations called up the campaign "Free press means a free people” for a month in March, released a chartertitled "Respecting authors’ right in the media sector”, organized a national discussion on "Journalism and Intellectual Rights”, and coordinated a workshop named "Ethics principle in journalism and feedback” on April 28.

May 3 is also when CMJ, Globe International Center, and Mongolian National Commission for UNESCO and General Committee of Supreme Court signed a memorandum of cooperation on the UN Action Plan for the Safety and Impunity of Journalists.

Confederation of Mongolian Journalists