The International Federation of Journalists
(IFJ) joins its affiliate the Confederation of Mongolian Journalists (CMJ) in condemning
the laying of criminal defamation charges against Mongolia’s TV9 television station and
its investigative news team, in response to the airing of a documentary disclosing
allegations of corruption against government officials.
On December 17, 2011, TV9 broadcast a story concerning
the alleged illegal privatisation of a publicly owned building located in the center
of the country’s capital, Ulaan Bataar. The documentary, titled “Detective-2”,
linked the sale to corrupt activities of high ranked government officials and
urged police to investigate.
Shortly afterwards, on December 22,
P.Otgonjargal,police major of the State Investigation
Authority investigating the privatisation, filed a criminal defamation claim against
TV9 and its news team at the Sukhbaatar District Police Department in Ulaan
TV9’s documentary team including senior
producer D.Turmunkh, reporter N.Binderya, director N.Bayarsaikhan and presenter
L.Erdenebaatar were questioned by police. The station’s director, Ts.Enkbat,
was also questioned. It is reported that police implied the possible forced
detention of the team during the questioning.
In December 2010, another Mongolian journalist,Bolormaa
Damdinsuren, was charged with criminal
defamation after publishing a news report implicating a
well-known Mongolian businessman in criminal activity.
“The IFJ is concerned that the quick recourse to
criminal defamation action has a chilling effect on free and fair journalism,
and does little to advance the public interest,” IFJ
Asia-Pacific Director Jacqueline Park said.
“The IFJ has long maintained its opposition to
defamation laws, and urges the Government of Mongolia to repeal current
defamation laws and institute defamation as a civil offence, with relevant
safeguards for press freedom and journalists’ ability to report on matters of
information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific
on +612 9333 0950
represents more than 600,000 journalists in 131 countries
IFJ on Twitter: @ifjasiapacific
IFJ on Facebook: www.facebook.com/IFJAsiaPacific