Our eroding freedom

Freedom of speech allows us to express our opinion without any fear or any control that could be exerted by the government. It is also referred to as freedom of self-expression. Freedom of self-expression includes seeking, finding, and disseminating information through any channels. Freedom of speech is the backbone of other human rights. Without this freedom, values such as democracy, a free market, and human and social development are unfathomable.
Freedom of speech is defined first in many important documents, such as the Bill of Rights passed by the Parliament of England in 1689, the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen enacted during the French Revolution in 1789, and the United Declaration of Human Rights adopted by the United Nations in 1948. Clause 16 in Article 16 of the Constitution of Mongolia states, “The citizens of Mongolia shall be guaranteed the privilege of the freedom of thought, free expression of opinion, speech, press, peaceful demonstration and meetings.” However, this clause in the Constitution does not automatically ensure that every Mongolian has freedom of speech at all.


It is said that a free society develops faster than a closed society where there is no freedom of speech. Only in a free society can business and public governance continuously advance, and new ideas and creations be generated one after another.
Freedom of speech constitutes social wealth because only people with freedom can develop themselves fully. Only when voices are heard and communicated transparently, without any fear, can journalists and people reveal corruption and hold culprits accountable. In Mongolia, even ordinary members of a political party are afraid of asking their seniors where their money comes from and being pressured. They have a good idea about the source of the money, but are afraid of mentioning it.
Although every citizen has the freedom of self-expression, that freedom is restricted by the rights of others. If people use their right to speak, write, or publish something in an attempt to smear someone’s reputation, they must be held responsible for their actions. Freedom of speech is critical to the press. The press must not work under the principle of “non-disclosure agreement”, where they get paid to stay quiet or publish a story. Even when there is an emergency, press freedom must not be restricted in a democratic country.


Since walking on the path of democracy, Mongolia has made significant advancements in its socio-economic development. Despite the growth experienced for almost ten years due to commodity prices and the pace of China’s economic growth, our economy has significantly declined for the last two years. Mongolia’s economy, which is based on mining, has increasingly seen the gap in income and social inequality increase. When mining revenue was high, we borrowed from abroad in large amounts, instead of creating savings. It is the reason why we have no choice today but to borrow again to pay existing debts.
In a market economy, it is clear that people do not get wealthy or develop at the same pace as others. However, the reason why the poor are still struggling to put food on their table, despite how hard they try, is that our public governance is weak and the government has been unstable in its economic policy. Even though the number of government organizations (ministries, agencies, state-owned companies, and local governments), the quality of their service has consistently gone down.
The answer to why it is what it is today and why it is not changing is simply corruption. We talk about combating corruption. However, our actions have been deteriorating. It can be seen from the capability of our current authorities, power struggles within political parties and between factions, populist promises for elections, and the fact that those who have committed illegal actions are not being held accountable.
The underlying reason why we have succumbed to corruption is that freedom of speech is restricted in Mongolia. What this means is much wider than refusing to share one’s opinion in the media, suspending the right to publish opinions, or some websites being shut down. Mongolians are afraid of disclosing information about misconduct that harms our public security and social welfare, and is posing even graver threats for the future. Anyone who has revealed the wrongdoings of someone else gets fired or ends up paying for it. More mature democracies have laws that protect whistleblowers who expose the truth.
Mongolia has reached a level where the truth can no longer prevail because freedom of speech is restricted. Anyone who poses a threat to certain groups, especially the authorities and their affiliates, is being attacked in an orchestrated manner. The legal system is working in a way where a person who tells the truth could end up being convicted for defamation. The press can only operate within certain boundaries for fear of revealing the truth. The sales of most newspapers depends on the orders of the government.
If the authorities are allowed to confuse voters by restricting the media and stopping criticism, democracy will not truly work. Freedom of speech is the oxygen of Mongolia’s development.

Trans. by B.AMAR

Short URL: http://ubpost.mongolnews.mn/?p=19013

Posted by on Mar 28 2016. Filed under Opinion. 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.

1 Comment for “Our eroding freedom”

  1. James McCormack

    I’m surprised this article was printed.
    FDI will remain limited until the population de-fangs leaders who hamper rights and freedoms.
    Why did Enkboldz stop TT etc., Why did Jargals interview get pulled from being aired? Why did the lady journalist die in her room? Why the Kahn Resources debacle? Why would world financiers help these governments? So we can let your politicians screw the world?
    Get real.

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