05.06.2009 -

Press Freedom campaign in Mongolia

UNESCO has concluded a month of celebrations of World Press Freedom Day and the media advocacy campaign "We want to Tell the Truth, but..." in Mongolia.

Ulaanbaatar is home to two thirds of the Mongolian population, the seat of the Government and the Parliament as well as the information heart of the country. UNESCO and Globe International, a Mongolian media advocacy NGO, took the opportunity of the World Press Freedom Day, celebrated each year on 3 May to inform the audience about the Media Freedom Law banning censorship, violations of journalists rights and as well as the public's right to know.

 

For one month, the most frequented streets in Mongolia's capital Ulaanbaatar displayed eye-catching banners and billboards which contained references to the Mongolia Constitution as well as UNESCO declarations on freedom of expression, public's right to know and independent press. The statements were accompanied by images of journalists covering recent political crises, as well as moderators of popular TV debates. With 94 billboards and banners in the most popular public spots, capital dwellers could not miss the call to take action towards creating a better environment for independent media.

 

During the campaign, the Mongolian National Public Television and other media outlets focused on the media freedom issues. MNB aired on 1May 2009 a 50-minute programme entitled "The Public Hour" dedicated to World Press Freedom Day with D.Oyuntsetseg, a journalist from the daily newspaper Ardyn Erkh as guest speaker and images of the UNESCO billboards and banners. Viewers calling to the studio during the life show, expressed their views and expectations of the public media.

 

Concurrently, the "New Generation for Fair Journalism" event at the Press Institute gathered 82 representatives of the journalism schools, media practitioners and NGOs. Six Mongolian journalists talked to students about challenges of their work and how difficult it is sometimes to defend their professional rights. Twelve journalism schools made presentations on the media freedom situation in Mongolia. Journalism students voiced their concerns as well as hopes for the future of Mongolian media. A short video vox-pops produced by the students, featured express interviews with passers-by on the streets of Ulaan-Baator. When asked whether they trust information supplied by print and digital media, most of them respond negatively. Even though sampling was rather random, the responses have led to almost unanimous conclusion: the Mongolian public wants the media to be more accurate, objective and trust-worthy.




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