This statement was originally published by Globe International Center on 20 April 2020.
Globe International Center strongly condemns the physical harassment committed by a certain police officer against N. Unurtsetseg, a female journalist for zarig.mn news site. This incident took place while the journalist was under an investigation by the police based on a complaint lodged by a high-profile public official.
We are profoundly concerned that such an improper and senseless act, on the one hand, creates fear among the public and journalists by threatening, harassing, intimidating and using excessive force against the free and independent media, which serves the public right to reliable information and plays a watchdog function in a society. On the other hand, it might adversely affect the reputation of the police.
It is truly regretful that such an abusive act has occurred at a time when the UN is marking its 75th Anniversary, and the upcoming global celebration of World Press Freedom Day under the theme “Journalism without fear or favour” which will be observed on 3 May.
The United Nations General Assembly Resolution A/RES/68/163 of 13 April 2012 adopted the UN Plan of Action on the Safety of Journalists and the Issue of Impunity. In this regard, UNESCO, a UN Agency with a mandate to promote and protect freedom of expression, has established Journalists’ Safety Indicators in which it proclaimed that, “Alongside freedom of expression, the right to life and to the integrity and security of persons are fundamental human rights that are recognized and guaranteed by international conventions and instruments. Such rights clearly apply to everyone. But they are important to the practice of journalism for at least three reasons:
- Unless journalists are safe and secure they cannot be expected to carry out their professional duties that enable the media to provide the public a platform for the exchange of ideas, opinions and information.
- Unpunished killings and violence lead to self-censorship – journalists come to believe that it is simply too dangerous to cover certain topics.
- The high visibility of journalists means that members of society at large do not feel that they themselves are safe to speak when they see a journalist is attacked, and especially when there is impunity for the attackers.
Accordingly, the safety of journalists is an essential human rights issue and lies at the core of the wide enjoyment of freedom of expression.
Mongolia is a democratic country that protects its citizens’ rights and freedoms. We consider that such a physical attack committed by a police officer, who has a specific duty to protect the rights and freedoms of others, constitutes a crime against a person’s health. Moreover, it infringes the right to personal liberty and safety, as guaranteed by the Mongolian Constitution and violates Article 14.3 of the Criminal Code of Mongolia.
Journalist N. Unurtsetseg has been questioned by the police concerning her work as a journalist over a one-year period from 2019 to 2020. Using laws and police force to threaten journalists instills fear among them, leads to negative consequences such as the censorship of news about powerful officials, silencing criticism, and the promotion of unlawful acts and polarization.
According to international standards, criticism of public institutions should not be prohibited in contrast to the protection of the reputation of private entities. Public officials also should be tolerant of criticism.
Established in 1999, Globe International Center is a non-governmental organization with the function to promote and protect freedom of expression, the right to information and transparency in public bodies, and to educate and enlighten the public on and against corruption.
We believe and hope that the violent act of the police officer against the journalist will be thoroughly investigated and that the perpetrator will be punished according to the law.
We stand for “journalism without fear or favour”!
GLOBE INTERNATIONAL CENTER
 In the UN Human Rights Committee’s General Comment with regard to the ICCPR, Article 3, No34, it is considered as unnecessary and undue restrictions to freedom of expression.
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Source: MEDIA FEED