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Globe International protests restrictions on media freedom in aftermath of riots

(Globe International/IFEX) - The following is a 2 July 2008 Globe International statement:

Globe International protests the 1 July 2008 Decree by President N. Enkhbayar, declaring a State of Emergency and ordering all radio and television stations, with the exception of Mongolian National Radio and Television, to cease broadcasting for four days.

Globe International criticised the authorities for refusing to allow journalists from other television stations to enter the Government House and report on the extraordinary Parliament session, held to discuss certain matters related to the presidential decree.

The organisation deeply regrets the fact that the authorities abused media freedom by using the provisions of the 1995 Law on the State of Emergency.

"The provisions of the Law on the State of Emergency are very old and overlap with the 1998 Law on Media Freedom and the 2005 Law on Public Radio and Television. It is a shame that the government opted for censorship of the news broadcast on Mongolian National Radio and Television," said H. Naranjargal, president of Globe International, in an interview published by "Odriin Sonin" (Daily News).

Globe International is seriously concerned that the government has started censoring the public media, ignoring the public's right to know the truth. The organisation believes these actions are not justified and illegitimate, and the media's right to tell the truth has been seriously violated.

Media freedom is one of the fundamental human rights and democratic countries should not violate freedom of expression in such a restrictive and non-democratic way. Globe International believes that the lack of pluralistic information will result in anger and loss of faith among the public, and only promote injustice.

Therefore, Globe International demands that the president and Parliament urgently put an end to this decision and allow the other stations to resume broadcasting immediately.

Mongolia's 2008 Parliamentarian elections were held on 29 June. Twelve political parties and one coalition contested for 76 seats. On 30 June, the Mongolian People's Revolutionary Party (MPRP) convened a press conference where they stated that they won the elections with an absolute majority. At that point, the General Election Commission had not officially announced the final results of the elections. The opposition parties protested the results, stating that the elections were not fair and they demanded a re-count of the vote. The opposition parties organised a public demonstration in front of the MPRP headquarters. After a few hours, the demonstrators started vandalising the building and setting fire to it. The police were not able to control the situation and the building was burnt. Riots erupted, with individuals looting the MPRP building, and vandalising the City Cultural Palace complex. Bloc B of the complex was burnt and Bloc C suffered some damage from the fire. The protesters vandalised and looted the offices located in all the other blocs.

Globe International is a Mongolian NGO founded in 1999 that promotes the freedoms of expression, information and media.

We regret that we are not able to work normally because of carbon monoxide fumes from the burning. The office of Globe International, located in Bloc G, is heavily sooty. There is no electricity and water.

Updates alert on the imposition of media restrictions:

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