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Draft broadcasting law put before Mongolia parliament

In this 30 October 2015 file photo, children play in front of the Mongolian Parliament House in Ulaanbaatar
In this 30 October 2015 file photo, children play in front of the Mongolian Parliament House in Ulaanbaatar

AP Photo/Ganbat Namjilsangarav, File

This statement was originally published on ifj.org on 28 March 2017.

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) joins its affiliate, the Confederation of Mongolian Journalists (CMJ) in welcoming the decision by the Mongolian government to place the draft Broadcasting Law before parliament. The IFJ calls on the government to ensure thorough consultation with stakeholders on the law and potential implementation.

In early March, the draft Broadcasting Law was put forward to the Mongolian parliament after several years of debate and numerous versions. Mongolia's media has flourished in recent years, boosting 400 media outlets for a population of just three million. Although the law is welcomed to help regulate the media, concerns have been raised about its impacts and ability to address the needs of the media in Mongolia.

The Centre for Law and Democracy have analysed the draft and executive director, Toby Mendel, said: "I am disappointed that the draft Broadcasting Law does not do more to address the needs. It completely fails to transform the regulator into an independent body and does not mention community broadcasting even once."

Political interference has been documented in Mongolia over the years, with reports of politicians threatening to revoke broadcasting licenses if outlets run particular stories. However, the law does not work to address these issues, as CLD highlighted, that licenses should not require the permission of political actors.

The CMJ president B. Galaarid, said: "The Confederation of Mongolian Journalists (CMJ) seconds the opinion of the International Federation of Journalists and the Centre for Law and Democracy on the issue of the draft on Broadcasting Law in Mongolia. When making decisions regarding laws on press and media, as well as, laws pertaining journalistic activities the Mongolian government should consult and receive the professional opinion of the Confederation of Mongolian Journalists - which is the "umbrella" organization for Mongolian journalists expertise and professionalism, and other NGOs' representatives, a working group should be formed. It is regretful that the Mongolian government has been excluding these working groups in the recent years."

The IFJ said: "We stand with CMJ in calling on the government to have more inclusive consultations before drafting laws, such as this. The government should ensure that stakeholders, including CMJ, are part of the drafting process, and can provide important and professional advice, due to the wealth of knowledge they have in the media industry."

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