Journalists Charged with Criminal Defamation in Mongolia

 

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

Bataar. 

 

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

criminal

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

public interest.”

 

For further

information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific

on +612 9333 0950

 

The IFJ

represents more than 600,000 journalists in 131 countries

 

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