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Look back, Look ahead

 By B.KHASH-ERDENE

Another year is coming to its close. As this is the UB Post’s last edition of the year, we see it fit to revisit the changes and hurdles we encountered in the past 12 months and relay our expectations for the upcoming year.
Our newspaper’s main objective for the year 2014 was to elevate our standards – both in management and delivery of news – to a new height, bringing it closer to global journalism practices. With this in mind, we published four special editions of the UB Post focused on what we believed were the most crucial issues in Mongolia, with the help of Australian Youth Ambassador and media trainer Lisa Gardner. The special editions, which comprised investigative material and interviews, were about the air pollution in Ulaanbaatar (published January 20,2014), alcoholism (published March 19,2014), the hopes and dreams of residents of the capital (published May 14,2014), and on Mongolian journalism (published October 8,2014).

The UB Post is proud to say that we enjoyed the positive feedback and interaction with our readers generated by the special editions and have received requests to do more investigative reporting. We hope that the special editions will become a seasonal tradition of our newspaper.
Many significant events occurred in 2014 in Mongolia.
One event that shook the Mongolian media and social media was the imprisonment of aviation engineer and blogger Ts.Bat for allegedly defaming former Transport Minister A.Gansukh on Twitter, which marked the first time a person had been imprisoned in Mongolia for posting on social media.
Ts.Bat was released one month after his imprisonment and the case is currently being reinvestigated. What was most alarming about the case was that it brought attention to the flaws in Mongolia’s legal system, one that allowed a man to be arrested for publicly criticizing a high-ranking government official. Organizations such as the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) and other agencies promoting democracy view imprisonment as a disproportionally high penalty for defamation and feel it should be dealt with in civil courts. In Mongolia, defamation and libel is listed in the Criminal Code and can warrant imprisonment, which the OSCE points out is a serious threat to freedom of expression and can bring about chilling effects.
On the economic front, Mongolia has long lost its throne as the fastest growing economy in the world, a title bestowed in 2011, when GDP grew by 17.5 percent. Economic growth has stagnated to seven percent this year, the inflation rate has consistently been in the double digits in recent years, and foreign direct investment fell by 70 percent in the first half of 2014, according to the National Statistical Office. Add to this the lack of progress made on the Oyu Tolgoi dispute (the biggest investment project in Mongolia), the fizzled firework that was the “100 Days to Revive the Economy” plan of the Reform Government, plus the former Prime Minister’s advisor L.Gansukh being entangled in a corruption case, it is all too clear why the N.Altankhuyag government collapsed.
Although N.Altankhuyag’s Reform Government brought new roads and large scale infrastructure projects this year, changes that could potentially change the game for Mongolia’s economy, they came at a cost, or more accurately, with significant debt (Chinggis Bonds, Samurai Bond, Development Bank loans and others) for which the Mongolian government has only the vaguest plans for repayment.
With vast natural resources, Mongolia’s long-term potential remains positive if politics don’t get in the way, but the near term future is a concern, and analysts foresee increased taxes and unfavorable loans that will further amputate economic growth. It would be a shame if this happens, especially when the global economy is beginning to get back in the saddle after the global recession.
All opportunities still remain available to the new government led by Prime Minister Ch.Saikhanbileg. The newly formed coalition cabinet is comprised of different but familiar faces compared to the N.Altankhuyag government. But the fact that change came at the price of losing an opposition party in Parliament is viewed as a serious concern by some politicians and the public, signaling the dangers facing the democratic values of the nation.
It was said in one local newspaper editorial that if Ch.Saikhanbileg delivers his promises, he will be worshiped the way Russian President Vladimir Putin is by his people. Ch.Saikhanbileg knows that his time as the top man in government will be short lived, with parliamentary elections in 2016, and that he will take the blame for the Reform Government if the Mongolian economy isn’t back on its feet by then. Therefore, it will be best for him to do what is right to stimulate the economy and make decisions for the nation, rather than play politics, if he wishes to continue his political career after the election.
But whatever should happen in the future in Mongolia’s politics, economics, and society, our readers can be rest assured that the UB Post will be there to bring you the latest information about the stories that affect our lives. In the coming year, we hope to improve our online and investigative journalism for better and more timely updates demanded by our readers who have shown great support for our newspaper.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Short URL: http://ubpost.mongolnews.mn/?p=12905

Posted by on Dec 28 2014. Filed under Opinion, 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.

2 Comments for “Look back, Look ahead”

  1. I would like to express my gratefulness that this newspaper enables me to improve english language and being an opportunity to provide news. I wish all the best for our staffs and editors in this newspaper.

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