Mongolian journalists want to publish reports free of political and economic interests. DW Akademie is supporting them in their quest for media independence.
450 media companies serve Mongolia's 3 million people
The number of private media companies in Mongolia has skyrocketed since 1990. With more than 450 media companies, Mongolian society is inundated with information. The Internet is the most important source of information for the people in the capital, Ulan Bator, and in the rural provinces.
But most media owners have little interest in balanced reporting. Campaign journalism and political agenda setting are widespread. The average industry's salaries are so low that journalists live in precarious conditions and often pursue paid journalism as an additional income. There is still no trade union representation for journalists.
Lack of ownership transparency
Twenty-nine years after the end of communism, its legacy is still having an impact on Mongolia's media sector. Interdependencies between journalists and the country's political or economic elites persist. Freedom of expression and information is guaranteed by law but in everyday life is severely restricted. Government members own the media, both directly and indirectly, and repeatedly interfere with the freedom of the press.
Legal uncertainties - journalists under pressure
Those wanting to report critically are often pressured or face libel suits. The Administrative Offences Act of 2017 allows the police to prosecute offenses such as libel, slander or defamation. Journalists are frequently subject to the arbitrariness of authorities, and are constantly threatened with fines that can jeopardize a company's existence.
DW Akademie in Mongolia focuses on strengthening media independence. The Media Council of Mongolia (MCM), a non-governmental organization, was founded in 2015 with DW Akademie support. The NGO has developed a national code of ethics for journalists, and mediates disputes over incorrect or unfair reporting.
DW Akademie also supports the Press Institute of Mongolia (PIM), and together developed educational and training programs for investigative journalism.
In 2017 they launched an annual conference on investigative journalism; it is held in Ulan Bator and honors outstanding investigative reporting. Under the umbrella of the Mongolian Center for Investigative Reporting (MCIR), which was launched in 2018, a new generation of enterprising investigative and data journalists is emerging. DW Akademie also works together with the NGO Globe International Centre (GIC) and Mongolian legal associations to develop a political and legal framework for the media.
Funding: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Program Director: Patrick Benning
Location: Ulan Bator
Local partners: Media Council of Mongolia (MCM), Press Institute of Mongolia (PIM), Globe International Centre (GIC),
Mongolian Centre for Investigative Journalism (MCIJ)
Main focus: Political and legal frameworks, qualification, media self-regulation and journalism ethics, civic lobby for freedom of opinion, journalism training and curriculum development, investigative journalism
Teachers at the Press Institute of Mongolia will soon be using e-learning to teach investigative journalism countrywide regardless of location. The new method's being tested on DW Akademie's virtual learning platform. (09.03.2016)
Since 2015, Mongolian citizens have been able to lodge complaints about press reports that may violate the country's new media code. Ten Mongolian Media Council members came to Berlin to look at the German approach. (14.12.2015)