Bat’s defamation charges spark exchange of accusations among ministers

Transport Minister A.Gansukh broke his public silence on the defamation charge against aviation engineer and blogger Ts.Bat with bold accusations of his sister, Minister of Culture Ts.Oyungerel, on Mongol TV this week.
Minister Gansukh denied all the allegations made about him in 5,760 tweets by Bat, who was sentenced to 100 days in a penitentiary on defamation charges on August 19, and claimed that Minister Oyungerel attempted to secure a position for her brother shortly after her appointment as minister.
“Oyungerel told me to come to her office and asked me to appoint her brother as the head of Civil Aviation. I told them, ‘Appointing a state position is not a matter for you and I to decide on our own. Your brother is always accusing and insulting me.’ She told me, ‘I know, I told him off,’ and she said he would apologize,” Minister Gansukh told Mongol TV. “A few days later, I met [Minister Oyungerel] at her office along with her brother. She told him off and he apologized and asked to become the head of the Civil Aviation. Again, I told them that state positions shouldn’t be decided through a discussion among a few.”

In response, Minister Oyugerel told the UB Post that she only ever met Gansukh once and not to secure a government position for her brother.

“I remember having one meeting, when Bat came to the Government House to meet with the minister. Because I have an office in the Government House, my brother was waiting for [Gansukh] in my office. I invited the minister to meet in my office,” she explained. “So actually, the request to be considered for the position of leadership at the Civil Aviation Authority was made directly by Bat.”

“It was not my intent to secure any position for Bat, I just provided a room,” she added, “I don’t remember my brother apologizing to him. I don’t remember [Gansukh] asking for an apology. I do, however, recall asking my brother to respect the minister because Gansukh seem to be offended because Bat didn’t refer to him as minister.”

Minister Oyungerel expressed her shock when Gansukh turned the conversation into a “business negotiation” offering a condition for the job, that Bat stop criticizing what was happening in the aviation sector on Twitter.

“Gansukh immediately responded by telling Bat to stop tweeting about a deal concerning a Hong Kong based company and a Mongolian company named Liberty Partner that was taking place at the time,” she recalled. “I never knew what kind of a person Gansukh was before that. I didn’t know they had an argument and that it was that serious. I just knew him as a fellow cabinet member.”

“Since then, I’ve distanced myself from Gansukh. I never talked to him later because I thought he’s a person who makes deals on information; hiding information or acquiring information,” she added.

Gansukh told Mongol TV that Bat was denied a promotion at MIAT Mongolian Airlines because of “unethical behavior”.

“Bat took 50 million MNT from MIAT by illegal means, as salary. On top of this, his family didn’t pay for services worth 4,000 USD to MIAT,” he pointed out.

Oyungerel rejected the claim and said that the denial of Bat’s promotion was punishment for outspoken rebellion and criticism of the aviation sector.

“First he was denied promotion, then his salary was decreased, he was removed from his position, and then he was marginalized from decision making and he was fired,” she defended, adding that a thorough investigation looking into the matter should take place.

The Minister of Roads and Transportation said that he is not afraid of being investigated and Bat’s allegations were false and that was why he was convicted.
“I responded to him only once [on Twitter]. I told him he has the right to be suspicious, but have me investigated by the Independent Authority Against Corruption. I gave him permission. Why didn’t he have me investigated,” he told Mongol TV.

“I have a right to be offended. I believe that my personal and professional reputation was threatened… So I went to the police to get the matter resolved. I was having myself investigated as well, because there were many things written about me. If I really did commit what was claimed, I would have been a criminal. The police investigated me for eight months,” Gansukh argued.

Minister Oyungerel pointed out that Gansukh’s brother works at the Independent Agency Against Corruption and is in charge of the income and asset declarations of politicians.

“Gansukh shouldn’t be declaring income assets to his brother, and this is another point that will prove Bat’s credibility,” Oyungerel noted. “Gansukh has so much money. He has a budget higher than any other ministry because so many transportation and roads projects are going on. Meanwhile, the public does not have confidence about whether or not his asset information is accurate, because his brother is the person who receives and checks whether there is any illegal income. So Gansukh and his allies will always be under public scrutiny. Actually, by trying to expose Bat, he very successfully exposed his brother.”

Oyungerel expressed concern that her brother’s case highlights the need for protection for whistleblowers in Mongolia and is a threat to democracy and free expression.

“In his interview, Gansukh said that he was perfecting state immunity, but actually, he was weakening our democratic rights. I’m totally outraged by his actions… When my brother was arrested, I thought it was a little over the top. This is beyond any democratic principle. That’s why I spoke up.”


The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) representative on freedom of the media, Dunja Mijatovic made a statement on Bat’s defamation sentence on Tuesday.

OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media, Dunja Mijatović at the conference on shaping policies to advance media freedom on the Internet, Vienna, 14 February 2013. (Colin Peters)

“Punishing libel with imprisonment is a disproportionate and unacceptable measure,” Mijatovic said. “For years my office has been advocating the decriminalization of libel in OSCE participating states as a precondition for media freedom to develop.”

Mongolia is one of the 57 members of the OSCE, which observes media freedom in its member states.

Minister Oyungerel said the chilling effect has already taken hold of Mongolia’s critical sectors such as aviation and transportation.
“I agree with the OSCE. The aviation sector already is experiencing the chilling effect. For example, nobody from the business sector spoke about how they were pressured by the government. It was very surprising that nobody spoke out. But later, when my brother was jailed, I begun to understand why nobody spoke from businesses,” she said.

Bat’s defamation charges were seen as a criminal act in court. Minister Gansukh said that it was a criminal punishment because the allegation’s Bat made about him were about criminal activities.

Mijatovic provided early warning on violations of freedom of expression and media freedom and promoted full compliance with OSCE media freedom commitments.

“Mongolia is a model country in the region in developing media freedom,” Mijatovic said. “I am particularly worried about the chilling effect this might have on freedom of expression in the country.”



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Posted by on Aug 28 2014. Filed under Онцлох мэдээлэл. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

4 Comments for “Bat’s defamation charges spark exchange of accusations among ministers”

  1. The Appellate Court released Bat Ts. from custody this morning, pending its full review of his case!!

  2. In Mongolia democratic parties usually made out of 30% good people and 70% of criminals and corrupters. Especially Mongolian Democratic party is largely fascist and communist type of people hiding under Democracy word. The proof is above article that shameles democratic party appointed minister is hunting down free speach like Chinese Communist minister!! And Saihanbileg who is big government official was tried to shutdown internet commenting just after 2012 Democratic party election victory. And they managed to breach major human rights internet speach that now they are showing commenters IP addresses to anyone for communist type of vengence just go to news.mn, news.gogo.mn, shuud.mn major news sites and check commenters IP addresses all open!!

  3. So the Minister of Roads, who is currently overseeing hundreds of millions of dollars being pumped into low-quality road construction through various sovereign bonds, is having people jailed for speaking out against him AND his brother is in charge of Anti-Corruption?? I guess he will get off scot-free when the citizens rally together for resource nationalism and against foreign investment.

  4. Minister Gansukh’s brother is in charge of the income and asset declarations of politicians? This is an astonishing piece of information that has been brought into the open as a result of Minister Gansukh’s vendetta against Ts. Bat. The Minister clearly does not believe that he should be held accountable for his actions by members of the public – even thought accountability TO the public is an essential component of any democracy. Moreover, Minister Gansukh appears to be protected from the necessity of being transparent about his finances since he reports his income and assets to his brother. Without accountability and transparency, Mongolian “democracy” is not worthy of the name.

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