Freedom of the Press
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Press Freedom Score (0 = best, 100 = worst)
Legal Environment(0 = best, 30 = worst)
Political Environment(0 = best, 40 = worst)
Economic Environment(0 = best, 30 = worst)
Censorship of public information in Mongolia is banned under the 1998 Law on the Media, which also prohibits the government from owning or financing media outlets. Government holdings are gradually being privatized, although the government and ruling party still control four of the seven television stations and many radio stations. Complaints persist about state use of the media to promote official policies. On May 3, 2004, World Press Freedom Day was marked by protest and debate in Mongolia over libel laws seen as inhibiting freedom and "scare tactics" practiced by government officials. In April, a tabloid journalist was sentenced to three months in prison for libeling a parliamentarian. In addition, authorities regularly question journalists about information sources and conduct investigations about media ownership, broadcast reach and circulation figures, editorial perspectives, and sources of financing. The opposition Democratic Party has gained popularity with voters by adopting media freedom as a plank in its policy platform. A few days prior to the July 1 parliamentary elections, Democratic Party supporters stormed the National Radio and Television Building and negotiated successfully for 20 minutes of free airtime every evening. The governing People's Revolutionary Party subsequently lost half of its seats in parliament, and in October the new "consensus government" announced plans to decentralize state control of broadcast media. Owing to widespread poverty in Mongolia, the Internet has yet to serve as a more powerful source of free information. In this country of 2.5 million, the online population is estimated at 50,000.