WEBSITES DIDN’T FOLLOW A PRINCIPLE OF RESPECTING VICTIMS
In Mongolia, nine daily newspapers, 127 TVs, 48 radios, 71 magazines and more than 100 news websites disseminate information. Journalists prepare and disseminate hundreds of news on their expertise every day. Among these hundreds of news, crimes or victims related news are most attentively read information. There are ethics principles specifically concerned while preparing such news.
In the article 6 and 7 of the Mongolian Media Ethics Principles, it is defined respectively as “Journalism shall respect people’s privacy” and “Journalism shall respect people’s sorrow, suffering and emotional traumas”. “Print and Online Media” ethics committee held its second quarter hearings on June 13, 2019 and discussed complaints related above mentioned articles.
In this hearing, the committee discussed 10 complaints, 7 of them was related with same event. This case was about a girl disappeared in Selenge province in April 2019. Seven websites reported the girl’s full name, age, her photo and a photo of a place where she lived. These complaints considered that reporting the girl’s full name, age, the photo violates the article 6.2: Names, photos and other personal information of an individual can be published only for the purpose of public interest; the article 6.5: Victims of crime or accident have a right to special protection of their identity, including a name, age, working position and other personal information; the article 6.8: If not directly related with the main topic, family members and dependents of victims of crimes or accidents, or dependents of persons accused in crime, shall not be identified without particular consent which includes their names, ages, working positions, photos or videos – under the article 6: Journalism shall respect people’s privacy.
However, these seven websites had different news titles, all published the victim’s name, age and identifiable photo. The Media Council of Mongolia requested explanatory letter from these websites according to the complaint procedure. But five of these seven websites delivered their explanatory letter asking apologies and informing that they corrected their reporting.
Remaining two websites which were not responded are 24tsag.mn and boov.mn. According to the complaint procedure, a newsroom’s name is revealed to the public if they don’t correct their misreporting. This case – disrespecting the victim – was a lesson for journalists and media.
A COMPLAINT RECEIVED FROM THE OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT IS CONSIDERED REASONABLE
The Office of the President submitted a compliant to the Media Council of Mongolia. A website of 24tsag.mn published a news entitled “J.Enkhbayar was rewarded by an Order of Military Glory” on March 18, 2019. The news was misreported, not based on facts. The website of 24tsag.mn ignored the request of the Office of the President to correct their misreporting.
Therefore, the Office of the President considered that the website of 24tsag.mb violates the article 1.9 – Published information which subsequently turn out to be incorrect must be promptly rectified – of Media Ethics Principles and submitted the compliant to the MCM.
In the complaint of the Office of President, it’s said that J.Enkhbayar was not rewarded by the President Kh.Battulga’s decree. A parliament member J.Enkhbayar was rewarded by the ex-President Ts.Elbegdorj’s decree.
The website of 24tsag.mn hadn’t delivered any explanatory letter to the MCM’s request and the committee concluded that this website breached the article 1.9 of the Media Ethics Principles through its hearing.
FACTUAL ERROR OCCURRED WHILE REPORTING ABOUT HEALTH INSURANCE ISSUE
The General Agency of Health Insurance (GAHI) submitted a complaint against an article entitled “Unhealthy system of health insurance” published in “Undesnii Toim” magazine on April 29, 2019.
The article misreported that 8 services can be received, and insurance payers can receive medical services up to MNT 30,000 in a year. But actually, the number of services is 12, not 8 and amount of medical services can be MNT 2 million, not MNT 30,000. Therefore, the committee concluded that a journalist, who wrote this article, breached the Media Ethics Principles’ the article 1.1 – to verify accuracy of information whether it complies truth and avoid making accidental errors, and the article 1.2 – to identify sources clearly and check their reliability.
SOURCE’S STANCE IS NOT PRESENTED WHILE REPORTING ABOUT MOBICOM’S SERVICE PLANS
Mobicom Corporation, one of the biggest mobile operators in Mongolia, submitted a complaint against eagle.mn website to the MCM. The eagle.mn published the article entitled “Users flinch away when Mobicom cocks” on January 23, 2019. Mobicom emphasized that this news was groundless, unverified, no official information/comments requested from us, misinformed the actual information, not factual, misguided users and defamed the company’s reputation in their complaint.
In the article, it’s reported that Mobicom shrinked its service plans and left only two service plans available to users; then, it makes users choiceless. But no comments were requested to clarify why Mobicom shrinked from Mobicom corporation. Therefore, the committee concluded that it was breached the Media Ethics Principles’ article 1.8 – People who is criticized or accused shall be given an opportunity to comment. Also, the eagle.mn didn’t respond to a request of explanatory letter.