Media Struggle for Transparent Governance in Mongolia
How to fight corruption? How to encourage the investigative reporting? What legal and ethical framework should be put in place to protect and guide journalists working on corruption cases?
Those and many other corruption-related issues are in the center of debates and training sessions which are taking place in Ulaan-Baator, Mongolia, in the framework of the "Media for Transparent Governance" project funded by UNESCO's International Programme for the Development of Communication (IPDC).
Eight editor sessions, which run from November to December 2004, are being followed by hands-on training of journalists. Started on 17 February 2005, the training is expected to finish in April with publication of 12 newspaper materials and broadcasting of 9 radio and TV spots against corruption. The materials will come out amidst the contest on the best media campaign "Corruption is everybody's concern" with the overall prize fund of US$3000.
Globe International, the NGO implementing the project, succeeded in mobilizing a wide array of social actors to speak about the abating impact of corruption on the Mongol society. Two members of Parliament, education, healthcare and environment activists, as well as representatives of the World Bank, UNDP and Open Society Forum (former Soros Foundation), addressed editors and journalists from more than 15 national and regional media outlets. The methodology of the media content analyses was developed with the help of a trainer from the College of Mass Communication, University of the Philippines, and development of media productions will be consulted by an expert from the Philippines Center for Investigative Journalism.
"Mongolia is a small country with a small population and almost everybody knows each other. It creates condition for corruption and it is difficult to write serious materials. Mongolian journalists do not have personal commitment to exercise investigative journalism and they are afraid to be imprisoned", mentions Naranjargal, the project manager.
Two issues are important in combating corruption. One is political commitment and second is the change of the public attitude.
The heated debate around the role of media in the society was further intensified by the passage of the Public Service Broadcasting law through the Parliament and Office of the President of Mongolia. As the Mongolian National Television and Radio being restructured from a government-controlled entity into a public service broadcaster, both NGOs and media powerhouses have high stakes in the law, with major debate and veto power wangling over the administrative control and advertisement revenues. Lately the Parliament opted for accepting the President Bagadandi's veto on a number of controversial articles and passed the Law on Public Radio and TV which incorporated amendments requested by the President.
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