Only one out of ten Mongolian media outlets is actively transparent about its ownership. A majority of them has political affiliations through their founders and / or owners. This limits the important role of media to act as an independent watchdog for democracy. These are some of the main findings of the Media Ownership Monitor Mongolia, jointly carried out with the Press Institute of Mongolia, from September to December 2016.
- High Rate of Political Affiliation
The high rate of 74 % of media outlets having political affiliations can endanger not only the freedom and plurality of information of citizens, but also opens doors to manipulate information in this important market. Media is different from any other industry. It presents facts and views that are then subjects of public debates, which in turn shape public opinion. So a high influence of the political world on media and journalists can damage democratic processes and the development of a pluralistic society as a whole. MOM research and interviews with media outlets, media companies and journalists also reveal that journalists face mounting pressures. These dependencies can also prevent journalists from being neutral and open doors to self-censorship.
- Transparency obligations for media owners are deficient
The ownership of a media outlet can be disguised too easily by legal means. Also, there are no regulatory safeguards in place to prevent media concentration and monopolies. Even if media freedom is guaranteed by law, it is not fully implemented. All licensing and registration authorities belong to the government. The entire State advertisement budget, essential for financing media outlets, is distributed without any rules and regulations.
- “Politics & Friends” and “Big Business & Washed News”
In addition, Mongolian journalists are generally overworked and underpaid. So it is very common that reporters depend on an extra income and put their profession on sale, producing “Paid Content” as outlined in MOM features “Politics & Friends” and “Big Business & Washed News”. The results also highlight corruption as the biggest problem between politics, business and the media in Mongolia. As a result, editorial independence is limited.