19.12.2008 -

Improving public service broadcasting in Mongolia

UNESCO and the Asia-Pacific Institute for Broadcasting Development (AIBD) conducted two events on public service broadcasting in the capital of Mongolia, Ulaanbaatar. They focused on the importance of parliamentary broadcasting in the context of Mongolia, and on the editorial independence, transparency and diversity of local media.

Live broadcast of parliamentary proceedings allows citizens to witness what is being enacted in their name. It provides an opportunity for the constituents to appraise the conduct of their elected representatives and receive diversity of viewpoints on state issues that affect their daily life. Sustaining citizenship and civil society is one of the core objectives of public service broadcasting (PSB). How to translate it in terms of TV and radio programmes? - answers to this key question were ardently debated during the two back-to-back events which UNESCO and AIBD conducted in the capital of Mongolia, Ulaan-Baator.

 

The Roundtable on Live Broadcast of Parliamentary Debates drew attention of media and politicians alike. It underscored the importance of parliamentary broadcasting as a vital element of PSB in the context of Mongolia, where work of the government is frequently disrupted by prolonged and often violent confrontations with various interest groups.

 

Eric Moniot, Secretary-General of the parliamentary channel LCP of the French National Assembly, and Atya Nand, Under Secretary responsible for parliamentary broadcasting in the Indian Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, gave a snap-shot of the parliamentary channels in France and India respectively. Myanganbuu Naranbaatar, President and CEO of the Mongolian National Broadcaster (MNB), Kh.Chilaajav, Chairman of the National Council of Mongolia, and their colleagues weighed pros and cons of the introduction of live broadcast of parliamentary debates in Mongolia and discussed a number of practical action points and recommendations.

 

The subsequent three-day Workshop on Editorial Guidelines for an Effective PSB in Mongolia linked advocacy of public interest by PSB to regulatory mechanisms which could enhance editorial independence, transparency and programming diversity of local media outlets. Eve Solomon, author of Guidelines for Broadcasting Regulation published by the Commonwealth Broadcasting Association (CBA) and sponsored by UNESCO, moderated the Workshop which was attended by more than forty TV and radio editors from MNB and its outlets in remote provinces where UNESCO implemented media projects.

 

"It will take more than legislation and a fresh new beginning to compete with the well-equipped television stations in the capital and the many new entertaining FM radio stations around the country", the UNESCO Media Sector Analysis observed with regard to MNB. It also quoted the top management who stressed its hard work on reinvigorating the station hoping that the audience will be patient, "because it takes time to change the course of a super tanker". Both the Round Table and the Workshop aimed at moving MNB closer to the long-desired course change.




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