Today, the world is marking the 20th anniversary of the WPFD. Windhoek Declaration has been adopted in May 3, 1991 and it was first officially proclaimed during the United Nations General Assembly in 1993. The UN calls its State Parties to focus the WPFD 2013 on the theme of “Safe to Speak: Securing Freedom of Expression in All Media” and puts the spotlight in particular on the issues of safety of journalists, combating impunity for crimes against freedom of expression, and securing a free and open Internet as the precondition for safety online.
The Windhoek Declaration defines “By an independent press, we mean a press independent from governmental, political or economic control or from control of materials and infrastructure essential for the production and dissemination of newspapers, magazines and periodicals”.
We applaud that Mongolia has achieved the great accomplishments towards development of free and independent press and guarantee media freedom. Particularly, we cheer that new version of the Criminal Law, which will be publicly discussed next week; repealed criminal defamation and we consider Mongolia is taking honorable and progressive action in meeting its duty before the international community. We hope it will passed by the Parliament of Mongolia without any changes by its Fall session and the political parties presently seated in the Parliament such as Mongolian People’s Party, Justice Coalition, Civil Will and Green Party and many members of the ruling Democratic Party take their pledges to repeal criminal defamation during Globe International Center’s decriminalization defamation campaign ASK! during the 2012 Parliamentarian Elections.
“On this World Press Freedom Day, we call on Governments, societies and individuals to do their utmost to protect the safety of all journalists, offline and online. Everyone has a voice; all must be able to speak freely and in safety” says the Jint Message from Mr. BAN Ki-moon, Secretary-General of the UN and Ms. Irina Bokova, Director- General of UNESCO on the occasion of the WPFD.
They also stressed that “Every day, freedom of expression faces new threats. Because they help ensure transparency and accountability in public affairs, journalists are frequent targets of violence”.
We dispraise that today, in Mongolia, citizens’ freedom to express and speak without fear is under threat and the Government is seeking the strong restriction of the self-expression online
So we call the Parliament and Government of Mongolia:
1. To dissolve the Government resolution No 1 from January 5,2013 titled “About Unified system on web site comments” because we consider it restricts the citizens’ right to criticize and right anonymity and determine censorship
2. To amend the General conditions and requirements and general conditions and requirement on digital content adopted by the CRC in 2011 in consistence with the UN and international standards, particularly provisions on the registration and using filtering soft ware
3. To amend the Telecommunication Law to provide the full independence. In doing so, remove the article 8.3 that PM appoints the CRC chairman and other leadership and provide public participation and transparency in the processes of the issuing and dissolving licenses, conduct control over the content and making its related decisions
4. To make the necessary amendments to the content regulations in consistent to Article 19 which states restrictions must be legal, justified and proportional
5. Provide legislation on protection of journalistic confidential sources and accept the right to anonymity as individuals’ privacy.
6. Recognise the community media at policy, legal and regulatory levels and enable environment for development
No 25 of the Concluding observations of the UN Human Rights Committee adopted by 101st session of 14 March-1 April 2011 on the Mongolian Government report on the ICCPR noted “The Committee is concerned about information received on frequent threats and attacks on journalists and/or their family members” and the State party “should also ensure that all allegations of such threats and attacks are immediately and thoroughly investigated, and that the perpetrators are prosecuted”.
We recall it we are concerned impunity for crimes against freedom of expression remains normal.
Globe International Center
Mongolian Journalists’ Association
Association of the Daily Newspapers of Mongolia
Mongolian Newspaper Association
Mongolian Television Federation
Association of Mongolian Web sites
Press Institute of Mongolia
May 3, 2013, Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia