NEW DOCUMENTARY CHALLENGES FREE PRESS CLAIMS
Focusing on the role of tabloids, which have been at liberty to cover crime, celebrity gossip and illicit sex freely â Batsaikhan's film claims, nevertheless, that these publications stop short of criticizing the ruling Mongolian People's Revolutionary Party (MAKN) "for fear of being closed down or threatened with tax audits." A source interviewed in the film says the MAKN and the tabloids share a tacit understanding that as long as the government does not charge taxes, the tabloids will avoid criticising its policies."
However, Freedom House's 2001 Press Freedom Survey characterises Mongolia's press as "free," saying "Mongolia has scores of private newspapers representing diverse viewpoints." And the International Press Institute's (IPI) most recent World Press Freedom Review notes that "Mongolia is displaying an increasingly pluralistic media that promotes various political parties and represents independent viewpoints."
IJNet notes that although Mongolia "considers itself a country with a free press," as evidenced by the existence of close to 1,000 registered newspapers as of January, one editor tells Batsaikhan that "even the so-called free press is not really free, because they belong to someone or some political party." Since Batsaikhan's film was released, the state-owned Mongolian National Television and Radio has refused to broadcast it.
To view Freedom House and IPI's reports, see www.freedomhouse.org/ratings/index.htm and www.freemedia.at/wpfr/world.html. ">http://www.freedomhouse.org/ratings/index.htm">www.freedomhouse.org/ratings/index.htm and www.freemedia.at/wpfr/world.html.
To view IJNet's article, see www.ijnet.org/Archive/2001/10/19-11028.html.">http://www.ijnet.org/Archive/2001/10/19-11028.html">www.ijnet.org/Archive/2001/10/19-11028.html.
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