17 March 2023
Reporters Without Borders (RSF) calls on Mongolian Parliament to uphold the presidential veto of a dangerous social media bill, during the plenary vote scheduled for 17 March, and to take their time to prepare a well-thought-out version based on the recommendations from the Forum on Information & Democracy.
On Friday, 17 March 2023, the Mongolian parliament (The State Great Khural) is scheduled to vote on a veto, applied by President Khurelsukh Ukhnaa in January, a decision welcomed by RSF. The bill, which could be still adopted if veto is overridden by receiving two-thirds of the lawmakers votes, would give political authorities the ability to make arbitrary and politically motivated decisions, giving the authorities the power to censor any online content they dislike.
“Granting the government a right to censor the Internet without due process threatens the public’s right to information and may one day lead to silencing journalists. We call on legislators to ensure that this bill is once and for all rejected, and to take their time to prepare a well-thought-out version of it based on the recommendations made by the Forum on Information & Democracy.
The Forum on Information and Democracy recommendations
In November 2020, the Forum on Information and Democracy published the report “How to end infodemics”, based on more than 100 contributions from international experts, offering 250 recommendations to respond to the information chaos on online platforms and social media. It proposes, among others, strengthening the governance of the national regulator, reinforcing the regulator’s independence from the executive branch and accountability to the legislative branch of government and clarifying the appointment process of the national regulator with a clear vetting process.
The Forum published also three other reports and sets of recommendations for public regulation: in 2023, report “Pluralism of news and information in curation and indexing algorithms” containing suggestions for States and digital platforms on the pluralism of curation and indexing algorithms; in 2022 report on “Accountability regimes for social networks and users” proposing ways to harmonise moderation policies on platforms, enabling them to protect both freedom of expression and access to information; in 2021 the report “A New Deal for Journalism”, calling on governments and influential actors to improve the policy, funding, and enabling environment for independent professional journalism, by guaranteeing up to 0.1% of GDP a year in support of journalism.
Launched in 2019 and endorsed by 50 countries, the International Partnership on Information and Democracy aims at implementing democratic safeguards in the information and communication space. Based on principles drafted by a Commission composed of Nobel laureates, journalists and experts on new technologies, it provides appropriate responses to the information chaos threatening democracy, peace and the achievement of the sustainable development objectives (SDGs).
Mongolia ranked 90th out of 180 in the 2022 World Press Freedom Index. #