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Press freedom is generally respected, and media outlets collectively present a wide range of views. However, coverage can be partisan; the OSCE noted in its 2021 election observation mission report that many media outlets are dependent on the finances of their politically connected owners, who attempt to exert editorial control. Ownership of media companies remains opaque. Many journalists self-censor to avoid offending political or business interests and facing costly libel or defamation suits.
Authorities imposed criminal penalties for the dissemination of purported disinformation in March 2020, as the COVID-19 pandemic took hold worldwide. Journalists reportedly engaged in self-censorship while reporting on the pandemic.
Individuals are free to practice their religion under the law and in practice, though religious groups are required to register with the government and the ease of registration procedures varies by region and locality.
Academic freedom is generally respected.
There are few significant impediments to free and open private discussion. Fear of repercussions from powerful actors continue to deter open expression for some.
Functioning of Government
Functioning of Government
Freely elected representatives are duly seated and generally able to craft government policy without improper interference. However, corporations, aided by opaque party-finance procedures, have also been able to influence policymaking.
Parliamentarians were previously allowed to hold concurrent cabinet positions, effectively making a relatively large number of members bound to the premier. Constitutional amendments passed in 2019 limited the number of parliamentarians who could serve in a cabinet.
Corruption, which is endemic in Mongolia, is widely perceived to have worsened in recent years, particularly with respect to state involvement in the mining sector. Anticorruption laws are vaguely written and infrequently enforced. The Independent Authority Against Corruption (IAAC) has been criticized as ineffective in pursuing cases. The IAAC’s independence was weakened in 2019 when emergency legislation allowed the National Security Council (NSC) to recommend the chief’s dismissal before the end of their term. The chief and the prosecutor general, who had called for prosecutions against parliamentarians implicated in corruption, were dismissed that year.
High-profile corruption cases were resolved in 2020. For example: in May, former prime minister Mendsaikhany Enkhsaikhan received a four-and-a-half-year prison sentence for corruption, but had his sentence was reduced in November. Former prime ministers Jargaltulgyn Erdenebat and Sanjaagiin Bayar received prison sentences over separate accusations of corruption in July.
While there are many laws and regulations designed to maintain government transparency and accountability, implementation and enforcement is inconsistent. The 2011 Law on Information and Transparency and Right to Information contains exemptions allowing certain types of information to be withheld from the public, which authorities often invoke to limit disclosures. The 2019 constitutional amendments established an auditing body that would maintain powers over the government. The E-Mongolia platform, which is meant to make government services more accessible, launched in October 2020 and is a priority on Prime Minister Oyun-Erdene’s agenda.
From Freedom House