IFJ Condemns Confiscation Of Newspaper Computer in Mongolia

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) joins journalists

in Mongolia

to condemn the confiscation by the country’s authorities of a newspaper’s main

computer, which contained details of confidential sources.

 

 

Officers of Mongolia’s General Authority for Implementing

Court Decisions (GAFICD) entered the premises of the daily Niigmiin Toli (Public’s Mirror) in Mongolia’s

capital, Ulaanbaatar,

on August 27 and confiscated the paper’s host computer.

 

The paper’s

journalists protested the intimidation of the paper as a violation of media

freedoms.

 

The

confiscation, ordered by Chingeltei District Court in Ulaanbaatar, drew strong criticism from the

Confederation of Mongolian Journalists, an IFJ affiliate, and Globe International, a local organisation which seeks to

protect the rights of independent media and monitors violations of freedom of

expression in the country.

 

“The seizure

of a newspaper’s equipment and confidential data is a blatant act designed to

stifle free speech in Mongolia,”

IFJ Asia-Pacific Director Jacqueline

Park said.

 

“The IFJ is

concerned by Mongolian authorities’ misuse of the law in an attempt to

intimidate journalists and censor the country’s media, and is alarmed at the

long-term implications for protecting the confidentiality of sources.”

 

The

confiscation is connected to the daily’s publication on September 1, 2009, of a

letter from citizens of Bayan-Olgii, in Mongolia’s far western Kazakh

province, in which they made allegations of corruption by local government

officials.

 

Bayan-Olgii

Governor S. Khaval and another seven public officials named in the letter

brought a civil defamation case to the Chingeltei District Court and demanded MNT

13 million (about USD 10,000) in compensation.

 

The court

found the newspaper guilty of slander and defamation on December 24, 2009, and

ordered a retraction and apology be published and MNT 1.7 million be paid to the

complainants.

 

The paper

appealed, but the Capital City Court reaffirmed the district court decision in

March 2010.

 

Bayan-Olgii citizens

have conducted a hunger strike and more than 3000 people signed a petition to demand

that Khaval be removed from his position. Niigmiin

Toli’s head of administration, B. Yondonduichir, said on August 30 that the

ongoing protests and petition by the citizens of Bayan-Olgii proved the paper’s

publication of the letter was not groundless.

 

For further information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific

on +612 9333 0919

 

The IFJ represents more than 600,000 journalists in 125 countries

 

Find the IFJ on Twitter: @ifjasiapacific