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Enabling Freedom of the Press (MN0055)



Action Plan: Mongolia Action Plan 2021-2023

Action Plan Cycle: 2021



Lead Institution: Ministry of Justice and Home Affairs (MOJHA)

Support Institution(s): National Human Rights Commission, Media Counsil, Press Institute, Globe International Center, Journalists Union, National Committee on E-governance and Public Service, Free from Bureaucracy and Corruption”, National Committee for Sustainable Development, “Public Participation” project

Policy Areas

Anti Corruption and Integrity, Civic Space, Defending Journalists and Activists, Legislation, Sustainable Development Goals, Whistleblower Protections

IRM Review

IRM Report: Mongolia Action Plan Review 2021-2023

Starred: Pending IRM Review

Early Results: Pending IRM Review

Design i

Verifiable: Yes

Relevant to OGP Values: Pending IRM Review

Potential Impact: Pending IRM Review

Implementation i

Completion: Pending IRM Review


Statement of public problem Mongolia’s revised Criminal Code and Law on Infringements establish liability for “dissemination of obviously false information to the public” that damages a person’s dignity or a legal entity’s business reputation. The broad and vague description such as “obviously false” ignores the nature and effects of information impartation, one of which is information distortion, and entails the risk of abuse of law, discriminatory or arbitrary ruling and ultimately the threat of restricting freedom of expression. The Law of Mongolia on Broadcasting, effective since 1 July 2020, does not guarantee independent regulation of the sector and grants the Government full authority for licensing from granting to revoking. Under the Public Radio and Television Management Law, a national broadcaster has been set up with the function of providing the public with objective information free of any political or business interest. However, some provisions of the PRTV Law and problems in its implementation prevent due discharge of this function of delivering impartial and balanced information. Source confidentiality is granted only under the PRTV Law, which creates a situation where reporters working for other media outlets, and particularly investigative journalists are compelled to reveal their source idenditties when summoned to the court of law for their critical reporting.

Commitment description Strengthen legal guarantees of the freedoms of the press and expression by aligning the aforementioned legislation with international legal norms, in particular with the spirit of Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

Contribution to public problem • Transparency of the activities of public institutions and officials will increase in line with policy objectives and public expectations. • The risk of being groundlessly denied the freedom of expression and the professional duty of independent reporting on the pretext of imparting “obviously false information” will be effectively mitigated . • People’s right to receiving quality information from diverse sources will be strengthened by limiting political interference in the broadcasting sector which has exceptional influence on shaping public opinion • Increased transparency with regard to media owners will help opening up conflicts of interest that bear on the content and quality of information and ultimately be of benefit to people’s right to know. • Institution of clearly defined and effective legal safeguards from overcentralization in the media sector will be conducive to nurturing pluralistic media serving the public as a source of diverse information.

Relevance to OGP values ● Transparency The commitment aims at supporting public right to know by strenghtneing the basis of transparency, availability and diversity of information . ● Public participation The commitment is to ensure the public’s right to receive information on government decision-making and thereby contribute to the public’s capacity to influence policy decisions. ● Government accountability The commitment is to improve availability of information that is essential for bringing government accountability mechanisms into effect.

Coherence with other policies and strategies - “National Anti-Corruption Program”, Section 5.2.5;” create conditions for citizen oversight of investigations of acts of corruption, abuse of power and conflict of interest as well as informant protection processes by establishing systems for corruption control and prevention in political and law enforcement organizations”, to be implemented in the Program’s second stage 2020-2023. (NACP approved by Parliament Resolution 51 of 2016) - “Vision-2050” Long-Term Development Policy, Parliament Resolution 52, 2020, its Action Plan for 2021- 2030: Provision 5.6.5 “Improve systems for receipt and confidentiality of information on corruption and abuse of power; develop a legal framework for the protection of persons who uncovered and/or reported such acts of malfeasance; strengthen private sector and civil society cooperation in corruption prevention, and citizen oversight”. - “Guidelines to Strengthen Mongolia’s Legislation in the Period to 2024”, Article 92: “ put in place a legislation protecting individuals who critised, reported and/or disclosed wrongful activities of public and/or private entities from being harassed, penalized or criminally charged to ensure that whistleblowers are not victimized through vengeance and/or other criminal acts”. (Guidelines approved by Parliament Resolution 12 of 2021) - Relevance to the SDGs: Goal 16: “Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and transparent institutions at all levels” Target 16.5 (Substantially reduce corruption and bribery in all their forms), Target 16.6 (Develop effective, accountable and transparent institutions at all levels), Target 16.7 (Ensure responsive, inclusive, participatory, and representative decision making at all levels), Target 16.10 (Ensure public access to information and protect fundamental freedoms, in accordance with national legislation and international agreements);

Target definition Protect person’s right to receive balanced and objective information from an independent media, and assure the right to freedom of expression.

Follow-up actions • Public advocacy and promotion of new legislative amendments ● Information and education activities for relevant public servants to ensure implementation of the legislation ● Independent monitoring of the implementation of the legislation

Milestones Start date: End date: 1. A working group in charge of the commitment formed 2021.12.1 2022.3.15 2. Assessment of the legislation relevant to the commitment, and communication of outcomes to stakeholders 2021.12.15 2022.3.15 3. Study of international norms and standards relevant to the commitment, drafting of amendments 2022. 2.15 2022.5.15 4. Discussion and feedback on the proposed amendments from the public and communities 2022. 5.15 2022.7.15 5. Finalization and submission of amendments, lobbying 2022.7.15 2022.9.15 6. Insertion of a provision securing the right of a reporter to protect source anonymity in the Law on Whistleblower Legal Status and the Freedom of the Press Law. 2022.7.15 2022.9.15 7. Amendment to the Law on State and Official Secrets to establish a procedure whereby the state secrets list only be defined and approved by law rather than Cabinet Resolution and/or government agency decision. 2022.7.15 2022.9.15


Open Government Partnership