Mongolia’s Globe International Center has been involved in a seven-month international campaign to promote the safety of journalists. The world-wide events culminating each year on November 2nd draw attention to the low conviction rate for violent crimes against media workers. With prosecution rates averaging around 10 per cent, reporters in countries such as Mongolia, have become self-censoring for fear of attack or retribution.
This year the local campaign had a twofold aim - to strengthen capacity for advocacy and lobby for legal reform for the protection of journalists.
Globe’s Media Program Manager Ts.Munkhjin, noted the number of violations occurring in Mongolia: “This year GIC registered close to 40 cases of violations. Attacks against journalists and death threats are becoming widespread and many journalists cannot perform their duties in such a difficult situation. Pressures and attacks are leading to self-censorship and that's the root cause of media silence,” he explained.
Editor-in-Chief of Eagle News TV J.Khulan described difficulties faced by the media outlet and the day to day challenges TV crews face in line of duty: “Our journalists are attacked almost daily - and there have been incidents where their work equipment has been broken or confiscated.” Khulan stressed that while they’ve been required to adapt to the violence, violations of journalists’ rights are an attack on the public's right to know and the free flow of information essential to a democracy. Since spring this year, Eagle News has begun documenting violations to build public awareness.
Mongolian Lawyer and researcher L.Galbaatar is leading the charge to establish a Media Law Committee here. The group aims to protect freedoms of expression by providing defence and consultancy for journalists and by developing a media legal framework. He pointed out that most committee members have attended training organized by GIC, Deutsche Welle and the Mongolian Bar Association and are now specialized in an area of law committed to contributing to media legal development.
In a specially recorded video message for Ulaanbaatar's annual event, Globe International CEO, Kh.Naranjargal stressed that the greatest violation of journalistic rights in Mongolia is censorship - and those journalists who expose wrongdoings and corruption involving high profile officials constantly face risk. But she remains firm in her belief that provisions to ensure the safety of investigative journalists adopted last year, will be properly implemented.