AIRING A VIDEO OF TORTURE FOR A CONFESSION VIA MNB WAS UNETHICAL
The Radio and Television Ethics Committee held its second quarter meeting on July 3, 2019 and discussed 6 complaints. Among these 6 complaints, a complaint addressed to “Tsag uy, uzel bodol” program of the Mongolian National Broadcaster (MNB) was drawn the most attention.
At 9pm on June 4, 2019, parliament members – L.Bold, J.Batzandan, A.Sukhbat – took part in the “Tsag ue, uzel bodol” program at MNB and showed a video of the defendants being tortured for confession during the process of investigating S.Zorig’s murder case. S.Zorig was one of the Mongolian democratic revolution leaders.
In the video, actions of physical abuse for each other and swearing are displayed without any filter. One citizen requested to review that whether showing physical abuse and swearing without any filter is breaching the Media Ethics Principles’ article 4.1 – Reporting or broadcasting detailed presentation of crime methods and tactics shall be avoided, 4.3 – Criminals shall not be presented as ‘heros’, 4.4 – When presenting pictures and graphics of violence, accident or casualties, it shall be carefully considered how the presentation might influence children and juveniles from the MCM.
This video was previously shown to Parliament members and journalists in order to prove that three suspects were sentenced under torture for a confession. Through the MNB’s program on this day, around 15 minutes of this recording was aired.
According to the MCM’s complaint procedure, positions/comments from media organizations which prepared a program shall be taken in order to discuss complaints received from citizens. In some cases, it provides opportunity to media organizations to prove their information is based on facts; then media organizations can protect their stances and explain they don’t breach professional ethics. This time, MNB didn’t deliver any official explanation. But an anchor of that program expressed his personal stance before the Ethics Committee hearing.
In his explanation, the anchor wrote that a head of MNB informed him three parliament members would join the program in the previous day’s evening (in the evening of June 3, 2019) via phone call. Right before the program started, the parliament members let the anchor know that the video would be played when they came to MNB in person. The video was brought by a staff of General Intelligence Agency. Therefore, we had no time to do mosaics and filter inappropriate images or words. So, I asked apologies from viewers for inappropriate images or words included in the video in my capacity.
The Ethics Committee members discussed the complaint and concluded that MNB’s this program breached professional ethics.
THREE TELEVISION CHANNELS AIRED SAME CONTENT ABOUT MOBICOM
SBN, MN25 and MNC channels broadcasted about Mobicom in their news program and a news contents were similar to each other. All three news’s main content was about Mobicom corporation haven’t paid their rent, they made rent agreement via third party with high price, this makes advantage for someone, that may can be a type of corruption case, Mobicom’s management team are under investigation of Anti-Corruption Agency.
Mobicom Corporation delivered a complaint to the MCM because they see these news were one-sided, including defaming features and misreported the actual situation without requesting any clarification or comments from accused side, defamed the company’s reputation and provoked public.
The Ethics Committee reviewed aired news on these three channels – SBN, MN25 and MNC. These channels made following errors in their news: They misreported rent fee; displayed different building than rented place; property management services including cleaning, electricity, heating, etc was misused to show Mobicom making advantage to someone and giving bribe without facts; they didn’t request any information from Mobicom.
Therefore, the ethics committee concluded that these mistakes breached the Media Ethics Principles article 1.1 – To verify accuracy of information whether it complies truth and avoid making accidental errors, 1.2 - To identify sources clearly and check their reliability, 1.6 – Unconfirmed information, rumours or word of mouth shall be clearly mentioned as assumptions, 1.8 – People who is criticized or accused shall be given an opportunity to comment, and 4.2 – No one shall be treated as a criminal prior to a court sentence that takes effect.
A VIOLATION - NOT RESPECTING A VICTIM REPEATED
The Ethics Committee of Print and Online Media discussed several complaints about not respecting victims of crimes during their meeting on June 13, 2019. TV4 channel made same error when they reported about a happening mentioned in those complaints.
TV4 breached the Media Ethics Principles’ article 6.2 – Names, photo and other personal information of an individual can be published only for public interest, 6.5 – Victims of crime or accident have a right to special protection of their identity, 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 while broadcasting a news entitled “9 year old girl U who kidnapped in Selenge province was raped, then killed and buried in mountain” on May 1, 2019.
NO RELEVANT IMAGE WAS USED IN THE NEWS
In the Media Ethics Principles’ article 1.3, it’s defined that “Journalists shall always remember that headlines, photos, video, audio, graphics, sound bites and quotes shall not be used to misrepresent, oversimplify or highlight incidents out of context and try to work not to make such errors’. One citizen submitted a complaint regarding breach of the article 1.3 to the MCM.
TV8 channel broadcasted a news entitled “Whether student soldier program has been held fairly?” through its “Toli” news program. In the news, they reported about selection process hasn’t been done fairly for the Student Soldier program which is being implemented for university students. But images of young men, particularly naked young people, during the health examination of army recruitment used in the news.
The complainant considered that it’s very rude to invade these young people’s personal spaces and the news was aired during the prime time. Adults and young children who watched this news had unpleasant feelings.
TV8 channel accepted their negligence that they used unrelated images in this news.