Neguun.mn website made no ethical errors
The Print and Online Media Ethics Committee of the Media Council of Mongolia held its regular meeting for the first quarter of 2022 on March 24th, 2022. The Committee discussed three complaints addressed to two online newssites – neguun.mn and zarig.mn.
One. Neguun.mn website made no ethical errors
On January 19th, 2022, the website published the news titled “Evt Chuluu LLC's “Kherlen Apartment” brawled and did not comment on not issuing a certificate of residence permits”. “Evt Chuluu” LLC filed a complaint alleging that the website prepared and disseminated the news with no grounds and with false information; while preparing the news, they entered the company by force without permission and that the news defamed the company’s reputation.
This information was a video of Evt Chuluu LLC refusing to provide information and attacking a journalist and cameraman when they went to Evt Chuluu LLC to request comments according to the citizens' complaints to their newsroom. The Ethics Committee discussed the complaint and resolved that the website did not make an ethical error based on a majority of the members’ votes. The Committee members’ conclusions are based on:
- The video shows that journalists and cameramen did not enter the company by force. In addition, the journalist's statements were verified by the video; thus, the journalist did not violate Article 1 of the Media Ethics Codes – “Informing the public by accurate information and maintaining human dignity are supreme values of journalism. Verification of information is the basic principle of accuracy in journalism.”
- In the video, the journalist clearly introduced himself or herself and which newsroom he or she was from and asked for permission. Therefore, he/she did not violate Article 2 of the Media Ethics Codes - Dishonest methods of gathering information must not be used.
- It was considered that the information was not disseminated in a sensational or inappropriate manner. Therefore, they did not violate Article 4 of the Media Ethics Codes – Avoid inappropriately sensational coverage of any news or information.
- It is considered that the information was not distorted, there were no forms to slander or insult the complainant, the information was not used for personal purposes, and it was justified to prepare the information based on complaints from the public or the residents of the apartment. Therefore, the news did not violate Article 5 of the Media Ethics Codes – Misuse of information, slandering or libeling others and using the information to take advantage of one's profession is not acceptable for personal purpose. Bribe in any form in consideration of either publication or suppression of information shall be rejected.
Two. One of the two journalistic materials had the ethical error
Monpolymet LLC has filed two complaints against Zarig.mn: Article titled “Reasons for not handing over Moncement and MAK cement plants to the state commission" published on February 19th, 2022; a live video – “N.Manduul: If the companies that had loans repay their loans with the money they spend on PR, we will do your PR for free” published in the Zarig.mn’s Facebook page on February 25th, 2022; "J.Erkhembaatar: Stop saying like you built a factory for the country, it’s built for yourself, they will benefit."
The complainant's first complaint was for an article titled "Reasons for not handing over Moncement and MAK cement plants to the state commission” and considered that they distorted information, did not confirm its accuracy, misused it for the personal purpose by using their professional advantage, and disseminated blatantly false information that defamed the business reputation of the legal entity – the company. The Committee discussed the complaint, and the majority of the Committee members concluded that the article’s headline matches its main context. Therefore, it’s groundless to see that the article’s context was misunderstood and it did not violate Article 1.3 – 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. But they considered that Articles 1.1, 1.2, 1.5, 1.6, and 1.6 of the Media Ethics Codes were violated because the newsroom did not verify the information; the article was written in a way to be understood as the cement companies still have not yet received the approval however they already had the state commission’s approval; no certain source specified; disseminated the false information and opinion, and no comments were taken from the complainant.
The complainant also complained that the following information was obtained from a recording of the Development Bank during the general briefing, and used its professional advantages to distort the context by technical means, and displayed a photo of the founder and Chairman of Monpolymet LLC: “N.Manduul: If the companies that had loans repay their loans with the money they spend on PR, we will do your PR for free”; and "J.Erkhembaatar: Stop saying like you built a factory for the country, it’s built for yourself, they will benefit." They also considered that this act was misleading the public, as if it was making a statement accusing the company's management. The Committee discussed the complaint and concluded that the zarig.mn website did not make an ethical error. Particularly,
- The newsroom verified the information provided by the Development Bank's management by its context and displayed not only the complainant's photos but also the borrowers' photos related to the context. Therefore, Article 1.1 – To verify the accuracy of the information, whether it complies with truth and avoids making accidental errors – was not violated,
- It’s considered that the photos used in the information were consistent with the information provided by the Development Bank's information about borrowers. Therefore, Article 1.3 – 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 – was not violated.
- The majority of the Committee members concluded that the photos used for the briefing did not distort its context. Therefore, Article 1.4 – Photo, video and audio shall not be used to distort information context through technical editing – was not violated.