Media Ownership Transparency
In Mongolia, transparency obligations for media owners are deficient. Print outlets and also online news media do not need to publicly disclose their owners. Only for TV and radio stations the government appointed regulatory commission CRC demands transparency of license owners. But CRC information is often limited and outdated and the obligation to disclose ownership is not enforced. So access for the public to media ownership information leaves much to be desired.
MOM researchers put a lot of efforts into finding out who owns Mongolia’s most important media outlets. In quite a lot of cases the team managed to get some information from other than official sources. But first, companies that did not answer the MOM questionnaire or only gave minimal information were called and some even visited in person. In rating the information obtained the MOM team always used a positive approach, for example instead of giving a “Data Unavailable” evaluation rather giving a “Passive Transparency” rating, even if data was not complete.
MOM results for media ownership transparency: Out of 73 investigated entities – 39 media outlets and 34 companies – only 7 are actively transparent and for 33 “Data is Unavailable”, that is 45, 21 %.
In sum, out of 39 media outlets these were rated:
“Active Transparency”: 4 media outlets (none print (0 percent), 2 TV (5,13 percent), 1 radio (2,56 percent), 1 news website (2,56 percent) , in total 10, 26 percent
“Passive Transparency”: 18 media outlets (4 print (10,26 percent), 5 TV (12,82 percent), 5 radio (12,82 percent), 4 news websites (10,26 percent), in total 46,15 percent
“Data Unavailable”: 17 media outlets (8 print, 4 TV, none radio, 5 news websites), in total 43,59 percent
In sum, out of 34 media owner companies these were rated:
“Active Transparency”: 3, in total 8, 82 percent
“Passive Transparency”: 15, in total 44, 12 percent
“Data Unavailable”: 16, in total 47, 06 percent
Thus, with a very narrow margin the Risk to Ownership Transparency for media outlets and media owners is assessed as Medium.
(See Indicator 6 and 7, Context Law)
State advertisement is completely intransparent
In addition, MOM investigated the transparency and political control over media funding. However, in Mongolia State advertising happens without any rules and regulations. Consequently, there are no facts and figures publicly available. So the risk of political control over media funding is assessed high.
Based on additional information, MOM concluded that, government organizations use advertisement distribution as a tool to influence media content by signing “contracts of collaboration” to restrict criticism or negative coverage. (See Context Law, Indicator 9, Context Media, “Big Business & Washed News”, “Politics & Friends”)