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Globe International dismayed over discrimination against journalists

(Globe International/IFEX) - Globe International strongly condemns a 30 December 2010 amendment to the law on parliamentary session procedure. The amendment shuts the door on journalists wanting to attend Standing Committee meetings by stating: "The right to broadcast parliamentary activities through the media will be decided and given to the assembled journalists before each session, considering the requesting media, the journalists' working experience, and their professional skills."

The decision, which discriminates against parliamentary journalists, clearly violates the professional rights of journalists, the rights of media organizations to regulate their job schedules and the freedom of journalists and media outlets. Globe International believes this undemocratic act restricts the constitutionally-protected right to seek, process and disseminate information, and breaches the Media Freedom Law, which bans any kind of censorship.

Furthermore, this amendment is inconsistent with principles inherent in international standards, as guaranteed by the "Charter for a Free Press", which states: "There must be no discrimination by governments in their treatment, economic or otherwise, of the news media within a country", and by Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, as well as by the UNESCO Windhoek Declaration, which states: "2. By an independent press, we mean a press independent from governmental, political or economic control or from control of materials and infrastructure essential for the production and dissemination of newspapers, magazines and periodicals. 3. By a pluralistic press, we mean the end of monopolies of any kind and the existence of the greatest possible number of newspapers, magazines and periodicals reflecting the widest possible range of opinion within the community."

Recently, UNESCO promoted celebrating World Press Freedom Day in 2011 within the context of the Windhoek Declaration's 20th Anniversary. Ratified on 3 May 1991, this essential document declares the main principles of a free and independent media.

Globe International believes that as a UN Member State, the Mongolian Parliament should fulfill its human rights obligations and drop its amendment to the law on parliamentary session procedure because it breaches the Mongolian Constitution's provision that: "State power is vested in the people of Mongolia. The people exercise it through direct participation in state affairs and through representative bodies of state power elected by them."

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