Mongolian journalists want to publish reports free of political and economic interests. DW Akademie helps them in their quest for media independence.
Mongolia, a country of three million people, boasts 450 media companies
The number of private media companies in Mongolia has skyrocketed since 1990. With more than 450 media companies, Mongolian society is inundated with information. The internet is the most important source of information for the people in the capital Ulan Bator and the rural provinces.
But the majority of private media owners are not interested in balanced reporting. Campaign journalism and political agenda setting are widespread. The average salaries in the industry are so low that journalists live in precarious conditions and usually must pursue paid journalism. There is still no trade union representation.
Opaque ownership structures
Twenty-eight years after the end of communism, its legacy continues to have an impact on the Mongolian media sector. Interdependencies between journalists and the country's political or economic elites continue to exist. Freedom of expression and information is guaranteed by law, but in everyday life it is severely restricted. Government members own the media, both directly and indirectly, and they repeatedly interfere with the freedom of the press.
Legal uncertainty - journalists under pressure
Anyone who want to report critically is often put under pressure or faces a libel suit. The Administrative Offences Act of 2017 allows the police to prosecute honor offenses (like libel or slander). Journalists are frequently subject to the arbitrariness of the authorities. They are constantly threatened by fines that can jeopardize a company’s existence.
DW Akademie in Mongolia focuses on strengthening media independence. The Media Council of Mongolia (MCM) was founded in 2015 together with the support of the DW Akademie. The NGO sets standards in journalistic ethics. The population can now file complaints in the event of unfair reporting. DW Akademie also supports the Press Institute of Mongolia (PIM). Together with DW Akademie, PIM has taught teachers about work carried out in investigative journalism.
An annual conference for investigative journalism has been held since 2017. At the actual event, a prize for the best investigative report is awarded. The Mongolian Centre for Investigative Journalism is about to be launched. DW Akademie supports the center by building its website. In addition, DW Akademie works together with the NGO Globe International Centre (GIC) to develop a political and legal framework.
Funding: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Country coordinator: Patrick Benning
Location: Ulan Bator
Main focus: Political and legal frameworks, qualification, media self-regulation and ethics in journalism, civic lobby for freedom of opinion, journalism education and development of curricula, investigative journalism