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Leader of Republican Party interferes with activities of daily newspaper

(Globe International/IFEX) - 17 April 2012 - Globe International (GI) and the Confederation of Mongolian Journalists (CMJ) are deeply concerned about the outrageous actions of B. Jargalsaikhan, leader of the Republican Party, who has interfered with the activities of the Mongoliin Medee daily newspaper and therefore infringed on the rights of thousands of readers, violated media freedom, violated journalists' professional rights and the independence of the media outlet.

An interview between journalist B. Davaa and B. Jargalsaikhan titled "I think the July 1 riot was committed intentionally" was to be published in the 13 April 2012 edition of Mongoliin Medee. However, on the night of 12 April, B. Jargalsaikhan and his representatives exerted pressure on the journalist by phone. Moreover, they committed contemptible actions such as entering the newspaper's premises, checking whether the newspaper edition is printed, having men with cars outside the building controlling those people who are coming for the newspaper, seizing and buying the newspaper's edition from some postal offices in the morning. (On the night of 12 April, agents of the Independent Authority Against Corruption (IAAC) arrested the former president N. Enkhbayar at his residence. Because of the current political situation, B. Jargalsaikhan decided not to distribute the interview.)

GI and CMJ consider B. Jargalsaikhan's above mentioned actions to not only violate media freedom and the public's right to information, but they also violate Article 39 in the Criminal Code of Mongolia. The Article states that the "prevention of a journalist's professional activities that are consistent with the law with the view of dissemination or preventing dissemination of any information which affects the culprit's or others' interests shall be punishable . . . "

Both organizations issued a joint statement on the incident and encouraged journalists and media outlets to report immediately such violations to GI and CMJ for further protection of their rights. GI and CMJ believe that the law enforcement agencies should investigate B. Jargalsaikhan's actions, which infringed on the rights of media outlets, and punish the perpetrator in accordance with the law.

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