Globe International Center (GIC) hosted an online forum “Election and the Media” on June 25, 2021, to discuss achievements of its project “Empowering Youth and Women Journalists” being implemented as part of the International Republican Institute's SWYEEPPM program funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). A total of 47 participants, including journalism teachers, Ulaanbaatar and local journalists, journalism students, and representatives of government agencies such as the General Election Commission and the Communications Regulatory Authority (CRC), and NGOs like Together towards Positive Change and Towards Progress and Development of Khuvsgul, participated.
In her opening remarks, Kh. Naranjargal, Chairman of the GIC Board, highlighted the role of journalism teachers, local and Ulaanbaatar journalists, and 22 journalism students in the successful implementation of the project. Craig Castagna, the Republican Institute's Country Representative in Mongolia, highlighted the project's contribution to the development of quality journalism, emphasizing the role of fair and ethical media during the election. T.Ayushjav, Executive Director at the GIC, introduced the five major projects under the project to the forum participants. A.Luvsan-Ochir, Director of the Department of Regulatory Policy Implementation of the CRC emphasized how local and UB journalists' feedback was reflected in a number of clauses being added into a relevant regulation.
The first part of the forum was about the activities and achievements of the project. For example, G.Munkhbayar, a lecturer in the Department of Journalism at the University of Radio, Television, Media and Arts of the Mongolian National University of Culture and Arts, represented the nine journalism teachers who participated in the project in many different ways, whose engagement started from their preparation of a handbook, Reporting election. In addition to improving their media and other relevant legal knowledge and/or understanding, he emphasized that teachers sharpened their skills to analyze information in many sectors. Furthermore, he said, “teachers gained theoretical and practical knowledge on how to report and cover elections in the future, collected examples and facts to support them, created a resource, and created a resource bank that can be used for their further training and research.
On behalf of the journalists, J.Erdenetsetseg, a journalist and director of the Khuvsgul People's Television, shared what she had learned from her involvement in the project, explaining how she has introduced two important learning points to her work as a result of the training conducted by GIC in March 2021. First, she could revise her own organizational ethical codes, adding an additional provision. Second, the fact that the scrutiny of the facts dispels public skepticism was explained in connection with the information that the presidential candidates were “sons of the Khuvsgul community”. L.Delgermaa, a third-year graduate of Journalism and Public Relations at the National University of Mongolia, represented the students, sharing her experience answering a question of “How could I build my capacity?”. As she mentioned, her presentation skills were improved as well as she learned how to conduct research, review documents, and prepare digital articles, not only in relation to the media but also in other areas.
The last part of the online forum saw a productive discussion on the future strategy of the project stakeholders and what to focus on.
As a result of the forum discussions, the following comments and suggestions were summarized below.
1. University teachers
- Increased self-awareness, increased opportunity to provide information to students,
- The project has focused on empowering journalism teachers and contributing to the capacity building of many future journalists.
- It is necessary to update the curricula of journalism universities, to include election reporting programs, and to make changes, the department receives suggestions from teachers, so it is possible to make suggestions on this issue.
2. Journalists and media workers
- The training provided an opportunity to increase knowledge and provide information to other journalists (document review, journalist safety, balance, etc.)
- Developed ethical principles and strategies,
- Articles and programs to increase voter participation and voter education.
3. General Election Commission
- Voter education is a priority,
- Prior to, during, and after the election, the involvement of the media and NGOs was seen as important.
- Improving cooperation between media and NGOs,
- In order to improve the legal environment, all parties need to work together and are ready to cooperate.
- Coordination of government agencies is important,
- Joint training, especially case-based training, is effective.
- It is possible to increase knowledge by organizing meetings,
- Initiating by Globe International Center, to organize a meeting of professional unions to improve the legal environment, to provide general recommendations to legislators,
- We have a training center. Therefore, it will be easier to provide information and training,
- We should organize multi-stakeholder discussions on amendments to the election law.