STATEMENT

April 20, 2020

Ulaanbaatar  

Globe International Center deeply condemns a physical harassment committed by a certain police officer against N.Unurtsetseg, a female journalist of zarig.mn news site. This incident has been occurred while the journalist was under an investigation by the police based on a complaint lodged by a high-profile public official. 

We are profoundly concerned that such improper and senseless act, on one hand, creates fear among public and journalists by threatening, harassing, intimidating and using excessive force against free and independent media, which serves the public right to reliable information and plays a watchdog function in a society. On the other hand, it might adversely affect the reputation of the police.  

It is truly regretful that such an abusive act has occurred at a time when the UN is marking its 75th Anniversary, and the global celebration of World Press Freedom Day under the theme “Journalism without fear or favour” will be observed on May 3rd.

The United Nations General Assembly Resolution A/RES/68/163 of April 13, 2012 adopted the UN Plan of Action on the Safety of Journalists and the Issue of Impunity. In this regard, UNESCO, a UN Agency with a mandate to promote and protect freedom of expression, has established Journalists’ Safety Indicators in which it proclaimed that, “Alongside freedom of expression, the right to life and to the integrity and security of persons are fundamental human rights that are recognized and guaranteed by international conventions and instruments. Such rights clearly apply to everyone. But they are important to the practice of journalism for at least three reasons:

Unless journalists are safe and secure they cannot be expected to carry out their professional duties that enable the media to provide the public platform for the exchange of ideas, opinions and information. 

Unpunished killings and violence lead to self-censorship – journalists come to believe that it is simply too dangerous to cover certain topics. 

The high visibility of journalists means that members of society at large do not feel that they themselves are safe to speak when they see a journalist is attacked, and especially when there is impunity for the attackers.

Accordingly, the safety of journalists is an essential human rights issue and lies at the core of wide enjoyment of freedom of expression. 

Mongolia is a democratic country that protects its citizens’ rights and freedoms. We consider such a physical attack committed by a police officer, who has a specific duty to protect the rights and freedoms of others, has a nature of the crime against person’s health. Moreover, it infringes the right to personal liberty and safety, as guaranteed by the Mongolian Constitution and violates Article 14.3 of the Criminal Code of Mongolia that states, “… the publicist’s activities consistent with the law are forced or threatened with force, … , or they are intimidated to seriously harm their rights and legal interests …”.

Journalist N.Unurtsetseg has been questioned by the police concerning her journalistic articles and coverage over a one-year period from 2019 to 2020. Using laws and police force to threaten journalists creates a fear among them, leads to negative consequences such as the neutralization of news about powerful state officials, silence criticism, the encouragement of unlawful acts and polarization. 

According to international standards, criticism of public institutions should not be prohibited  in contrast to the protection of reputation of private entities, and public officials also should be tolerant to criticism.  

Globe International Center is a non-governmental organization with the function to promote and protect freedom of expression, the right to information and transparency in public bodies, and to educate and enlighten the public on and against corruption since its establishment in 1999.

We believe that the violent act of a certain police officer against the journalist will be thoroughly investigated and the perpetrator will be punished according to the law. 

We stand for “journalism without fear or favour”!

GLOBE INTERNATIONAL CENTER