Mongolia celebrates World Press Freedom Day


Mongolia organized several events to celebrate World Press Freedom Day, a global observance marked annually on May 3 to raise awareness of the importance of the freedom of the press and to celebrate the fundamental principles of press freedom.
The Mongolian Journalists’ Union held the very first Mongolian Forum on Digital Journalism two days prior to World Press Freedom Day and Globe International Center, a Mongolian NGO, organized the “Freedom Expression is a Human Right” round table discussion on May 3 at the conference hall of the Open Society in Ulaanbaatar.
To celebrate World Press Freedom Day, journalists all around the world unite to call for press freedom and freedom of expression on this special day. This year’s World Press Freedom Day in Mongolia was focused on raising the most pressing issues facing Mongolian journalists and advocating for securing a free and open Internet in connection with the fifth Freedom Online Conference to take place from May 4 to 5, 2015, in Ulaanbaatar.
In addition, it’s likely for Mongolia to adopt a new law on press freedom as the Government of Mongolia has initiated a brand new draft bill on media freedom and another draft for the Broadcast Law. Press and media communities in Mongolia are looking at the bills optimistically since many positive changes were addressed by the draft bills, including increasing the transparency of media ownership, ensuring editorial independence, adopting new editorial ethics and rules, and establishing a Media Ethnics Council for discussing professional errors. A Mongolian Media Ethics Council with 15 members was formed earlier this year.
However, a draft bill on the Criminal Law of Mongolia states that professional journalism “errors” will face the same punishment as theft, robbery, and assault crimes. Experts in the field consider this very dangerous for journalists. In international communities, violating the rights of journalists or the confinement of journalists are considered crimes against press freedom. Members of the Mongolian press and media hope for this article to be reconsidered and not enacted in the law.
To mark World Press Freedom Day, Director-General of UNESCO Irina Bokova released a video message, calling on all governments and all women and men to stand with UNESCO, “to bolster freedom of expression today and tomorrow, as we set a new global sustainable development agenda to follow in 2015.”
“World Press Freedom Day is the day when we raise the flag for freedom of expression, online and offline. This is the day when we stand up for the safety of journalists and combat impunity across the world. It is the day when we make our voices heard so that every woman and man can speak out, so that all may be empowered through access to information,” she said, adding, “These rights are essential for human dignity – they are also vital for all other rights, for good governance, democracy and the rule of law, for inclusive and sustainable development.”

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