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Mongolian website blocked after posting article about prime minister's property

Globe International Center strongly denounces the blocking of the news website by the Communications Regulatory Commission (CRC).

On July 3, 2014, a journalist posted a story on the site based on photo documentation with the headline, "Khaan Jims resort to be owned by Prime Minister pours its pollution into the Tuul River". The day after the article was posted, the website's managerial personnel received a call from a CRC official. He demanded the removal of the article from the website stating, "I'm calling because of a complaint from Khaan Jims resort."

Then he proceeded to threaten the company: "It is a defamatory article. You should post a retraction. Otherwise your website will be blocked." The website's managerial personnel asked on what grounds such demands were being made, but he did not receive a clear answer. Three hours after the phone call the CRC listed the website in its blacklist and blocked it.

CRC did not claim responsibility for the above action and the website staff did not receive any official letter or requirements, according to the website personnel.

CRC included the site in the list of conflicting domains. In its explanatory note above the list of blocked websites, it states: "The following websites were blocked by the decision and conclusion of the State Inspector from the Intellectual Property Office as they violated the Law on Copyright and Related Rights and International Treaties and Conventions ratified by Mongolia."

According to CRC's 2011 Resolution 'General Regulatory Conditions and Requirements of the Digital Content Service', "The Regulatory Committee shall inform the content aggregator and website service provider that they need to take the following measures based on an official decision and opinion about the violation of legislation received from the relevant legal authorities . . . In the event the violation is not addressed before the deadline, the Regulatory Committee shall give notice of temporary suspension of the service of the content aggregator and web site service provider to the service provider".

While the above mentioned conditions and requirements are the grounds of suspension of website service, no official decision and conclusion by the relevant legal authorities were made concerning Moreover, the article which was based on a journalist's photo documentation and investigation could not be a violation of intellectual property.

Globe International Center considers that the actions of the CRC, a government body, interfering with the activities of a media outlet, utterly violate freedom of expression and the public's right to accurate information and breach media freedom by blocking the website.

Globe International Center is concerned over an increase in threats, harassment and pressure from authorities and high officials against journalists and media outlets due to their critical reporting.


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