The press is pluralist, but journalists remain at risk of prison sentences for “defamation” and “violation of state secrets”. Media which exposed corruption within the state or wider society were censored.
The authorities in Ulan Bator regularly stress their commitment to press freedom and head of government Miyegombo Enkhbold spoke in May of his admiration for “journalists who fight social injustice and work hard to develop a free press”.
The government headed by the Mongolian People’s Revolutionary Party continues to use public radio and television as a tool for promoting itself. There are more than 30 newspapers, 20 FM radios and 26 television stations in the provinces but they are financially limited and are often harried by the local authorities.
Reporters Without Borders recorded 12 flagrant press freedom violations, including two incidents of censorship. The editor of the television station Nomin was brutally beaten by unknown assailants in July. She had received threats after broadcasting a report on the disappearance of privatisation vouchers promised to 9,000 employees in the mining industry. A few weeks earlier, a journalist on the daily Udriin Sonin received threats after writing an article on credit companies after which she obtained police protection.
Politicians coming in for criticism sometimes opt for radical solutions. In March, a parliamentarian seized with police help all the copies of a newspaper which had an article about her. Some public figures, including President Nambaryn Enkhbayar, laid a complaint against an editorialist on Udriin Sonin who made accusations of corruption.