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Criminal defamation lawsuits against provincial journalists dismissed in Mongolia

This statement was originally published by Globe International Center on 28 September 2015.

Criminal defamation charges brought in December 2014 against two provincial journalists have been dismissed. The two journalists - N. Munkhtur, from Orkhon province and S. Ankhbayar from Uvs province - were prosecuted under Article 111.2 of the Criminal Code for defamation by the Chairmen of the Citizens Representative Khurals (CRKh) for statements issued online and via social media.

Ankhbayar's case was dismissed by the Uvs province Prosecutor on 11 June 2015, followed by a written request by Senior Investigator and Police Captain of the Department for Combating Crime, Ch. Nansaljav. The prosecutor's decision mentioned that the defendant did not intentionally publicly defame the honor and reputation of Mr. Ch.Chimed, Chairman of Uvs province's CRKh. Further, there was no evidence that the defendant's posts contained false or unproven information.

The other journalist, N. Munkhtur, won the case in June 2015. He was accused of defaming B. Myagmarsuren, Chairman of the CRKh of Orkhon province through a series of articles posted on the website which is run by the journalist. In a 22 May 2015 hearing, the First Instance Court found the journalist guilty of defamation and ordered him to pay compensation 51 times higher than the minimum or MNT9,792,400 (approx. US$4,900). Subsequently on 30 June 2015, the Appellate Court dismissed the case against the journalist.

Globe International Center applauds the Prosecutor's and the Appellate Court's decisions and considers this a positive step towards the rights of independent media and freedom of expression in the country.

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