PRINT AND ONLINE ETHICS COMMITTEE SESSION
Two cases addressed to “Daily News” violated the Mongolian Media Ethics Principles
The Print and Online Ethics Committee of the Media Council Mongolia (MCM) held its regular meeting on 12 September 2018 and five complaints were discussed. Two of them were related with articles from same daily newspaper and remaining three were related with articles from 10 online sites.
Mr. Zoljargal N, a citizen of Mongolia, submitted two complaints: One compliant for the article titled as “N.Zoljargal was arrested and the Parliament Member B.Javkhlan, E.Batshugar and CEOs of the two major Mongolian banks are under investigation”, published in No.257 (5824) issue of the Daily Newspaper on December 01, 2017, the other complaint for the article titled as "N.Zoljargal of the Bank of Mongolia sued the “Daily Newspaper” for informing the happened event", published in 018 (5861) issue of the Daily Newspaper on 24 January 2018. The Print and Online Ethics Committee had postponed to discuss these complaints from Mr. Zoljargal N two times before. Mr. Zoljargal N accused that these articles discredited his personal and business reputation, the published information was extremely biased, unbalanced, without fact-checking, obvious false information spread throughout the country.
The Ethics Committee considered that the first article (titled as “N.Zoljargal was arrested and the Parliament Member B.Javkhlan, E.Batshugar and CEOs of the two major Mongolian banks are under investigation”, published in No.257 (5824) issue of the Daily Newspaper on December 01, 2017) was published without a proper examination, confirmation or fact-checking from other sources and didn’t mention that it was an assumption. Therefore, it’s concluded that these factors were in breach of the articles of 1.1 and 1.2 of the “Mongolian Media Ethics Principles”.
The Ethics Committee considered that the second article (titled as "N.Zoljargal of the Bank of Mongolia sued the “Daily Newspaper” for informing the happened event", published in 018 (5861) issue of the Daily Newspaper on 24 January 2018) merely explained the previous article and informed about the facts without any additional reporting. Therefore, there is no evidence to consider any breach of “Mongolian Media Ethics Principles”.
The next complaint was submitted by the Ulaanbaatar City Mayor’s Office and addressed again to the Daily Newspaper. The Daily Newspaper published an article with the title of “Have they said that they will reduce air pollution by eco panels to be procured from the state budget?” on 7th page of No.107 (5950) issue on 24 May 2018. The Ulaanbaatar City Mayor’s Office accused that this article contains defamation or information with no ground such as Mr. Gantumur T, General Manager and Head of the Ulaanbaatar Mayor’s Office works behind the “Khukh Mongol Construction” LLC, which does lobby regarding the implementation of a project - Eco panel and eco parking to reduce air pollution, he pushes this project … he earns money like this way and spread to the public.
However, the Ethic Committee discussed this article along with a response from an editorial board of the Daily Newspaper and concluded that the Daily Newspaper breached an article 9 of the “Mongolian Media Ethics Principles”. Because the article contained information about “Eco panel and eco parking” which announces, warns and assumes and also it wasn’t produced by the editorial team of the Daily Newspaper. It was a paid article. Therefore, it should have clearly indicated to the readers that it is a “paid” article.
- Third complaint was received from Japanese citizen Mrs. Kikuchi Erica, who lives in Mongolia.
She filed a complaint addressing to the article titled as “Japanese woman Kikuchi Erica married a Mongolian: Even though it doesn’t look tasty, I can cook buuz and tsuivan” published in www.miss.mn. She accused that the online site changed the photos and the content of her previous interview in “Zuunii Medee” newspaper and disseminated false information, gave wrong impression about her to the public and provoked resentment of Mongolians and caused disruption to her daily life and work in Mongolia.
The Ethics Committee concluded that miss.mn breached article 1 and 2 of the “Mongolian Media Ethics Principles” because the online site didn’t get a permission from Mrs. Kikuchi Erica when they took and rephrased the previously published information about her from other media, didn’t interview her, misrepresented her to the public which caused wrong impression, didn’t treat her humanly and didn’t obtain the information through fair ways. The online site hasn’t published any correction so far even though the editorial team of the online site responded that “We ask for an apology from Mrs. Kikuchi Erica for harming her reputation by publishing the article which was taken from other source without examining the accuracy of the information and we will officially publish an apology”.
- Oyunii Undraa Group LLC submitted the fourth complaint and addressed to several media such as the Daily Newspaper, tatarnews.mn and shuud.mn. It accused that these media harmed interest of the company and defamed reputation of its founder Mr. Amarsaikhan S, intentionally instigated social resentment against the company and published a paid article. The Ethics Committee discussed and examined the complaint against responses from editorial team and issued conclusions on each article.
The Ethics Committee concluded that Daily Newspaper’s editorial team didn’t breach the “Mongolian Media Ethics Principles” because the article titled as “It is a crime to tickle the Zaisan’s east area” which was published on 6 April 2018 in the 3rd page of No.073 (5916) issue of the Daily Newspaper and also posted in www.dnn.mn was based on precise evidences and expressed the opinion regarding the principle of “laws should serve equally for everyone”, emphasized that it is an “evidence and opinion” and didn’t contain any words and phrases that can be characterized defamation, insult and invasion to privacy.
But, the Ethics Committee concluded that www.tatarnews.mn breached 1.2 of the “Mongolian Media Ethics Principles” in its article titled as “Zaisan Memorial and Tuul river is suffering due to S.Amarsaikhan’s greed, who exploits UB city” published on 29 May, 2018. Because it was written without fact-checking the information which was able to be checked with evidence and source, however the article didn’t contain any words and phrases with characteristics of defamation and insult and invasion to privacy.
Moreover, the Ethics Committee concluded that www.shuud.mn online site breached article 1.2 and 5 of the “Mongolian Media Ethics Principles” in its article titled as “Should we let S.Amarsaikhan go indulge who dries Queen Tuul river” published on 29 May 2018. Because it didn’t check an evidence of the information when quoted from other media sources, didn’t confirm with other sources, didn’t have its own source, insulting words such as “Law and order is not relevant to us is an attitude on his family blood” was written. However, it was considered that the article didn’t contain any words and phrases which became invasion to privacy.
Mr. Amarsaikhan S, a citizen of Mongolia, was elected as a Chairman of the Citizen’s Representative Meeting on September, 2017. Many articles were published about him before and after his appointment. Mr. Amarsaikhan’s complaint on three articles received by MCM was about obtaining land permission illegally in Zaisan area. “Daily News” published the article on 6 April, 2018, whereas articles posted in www.tatarnews.mn and www.shuud.mn on the same day – 29 May, 2018. Even though, these articles published unproven information about business of Mr. Amarsaikhan S and his relatives might be illegal, these articles can be suspected that it is because of the competition on his political position.
In some cases, politicians use media regarding their competition for position and political authority. The only way to keep its reputation clean is that journalists should work professionally and comply with ethics code without getting involved accidently in this kind of situation.
The Mongolian Agency for Standardization and Metrology filed a complaint against www.dorgio.mn, www.tac.mn and www.bolod.mn regarding the article titled as “Prime Minister! Familiarize yourself with evidences about the illegal activities happening at the Mongolian Agency for Standardization and Metrology” published on 24 August 2018. It accused that the above-mentioned online sites intentionally published defamed information without evidence and harmed business reputation of the agency and personal reputation of certain officials.
The Ethics Committee discussed the complaint along with responses from editorial boards and examined along with the justification from the complainant and concluded that www.dorgio.mn checked its information with evidences, confirmed by several sources, gave an opportunity to the complainant to explain itself, and indicated the sources clearly, checked and confirmed the information, therefore these online sites didn’t breach any articles of the “Mongolian Media Ethics Principles”.
Journalist’s duty is to inform the public whether the government works are compliant to the law and whether state budget is spent on appropriate manner. In that regard, the journalist investigated the Mongolian Agency for Standardization and Metrology. During the correspondence, journalist revealed some evidence about Mr. Gantumur G, Head of the Agency, doing some illegal actions. In particular, he used government vehicles for personal purposes and the journalist bought the book him/herself and proved that sales revenue of the book of the compilation of the standards followed in Mongolia doesn’t go the Agency’s bank account even though it was published and financed by state budget.
This reportage was produced by the journalist at www.dorgio.mn and was re-published on www.tac.mn and www.bolod.mn by mentioning the source.