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Investigative Reporter Faces Criminal Charges in Mongolia

Investigative Reporter Faces Criminal Charges in Mongolia

December 17, 2010

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) is concerned about the safety of a journalist in Mongolia who is facing criminal charges after publishing a news report on November 8 which implicates a well-known Mongolian businessman in criminal activity.

Zuunii Medee, the newspaper which published the report, has asked Globe International to assist in protecting journalist Bolormaa Damdinsuren and in providing legal assistance.

Bolormaa reports receiving several threatening phone calls in relation to the report, which was the latest in a series of 20 published since August which have exposed a human trafficking ring allegedly trading in sexually exploited girls. The report alleged B. Narankhuu, director of the Mon-Uranium company, was a customer of a criminal syndicate.

The IFJ joins Globe International, a local organisation which monitors violations of freedom of expression, in expressing concern about criminal investigations and a defamation case against Bolormaa and Zuunii Medee.

Bolormaa, who works in Zuunii Medee’s investigations department, based in Ulaanbaatar, defends her report which she says is based on information from two confidential sources.

Within hours of the allegations being published, lawyers representing Narankhuu gave a press conference denying his involvement and accusing the newspaper of slander.

Criminal charges were laid against Bolormaa on November 10. A defamation case lodged against Zuunii Medee on November 24 demands compensation of 3 billion Mongolian Tungriks (USD 2.4 million).

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“The IFJ demands that Mongolian authorities ensure criminal charges and defamation laws are not misused to impose censorship on reporters and media organisations,” IFJ Asia-Pacific Director Jacqueline Park said.

“It further calls on authorities to ensure the safety and protection of Bolormaa Damdinsuren.”

In a separate matter also reported by Globe International, Mongolian Ministry of Foreign Affairs officials have reportedly complained to Eagle TV staff about their live webcast of the United Nations Universal Periodic Review in Geneva on November 2.

The complaints, received between November 5 and 8, were made through unofficial channels, with staff and the station’s news producer receiving calls complaining that the webcast had misrepresented the UN Human Rights Council’s assessment of the Mongolian Government.

Officials claim Eagle TV’s commentary of the webcast was incorrect and had led other Mongolian media to report negatively, damaging the reputation of the Mongolian government, according to Globe International.


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