Status: Partly Free
Legal Environment: 11
Political Influences: 12
Economic Pressures: 13
Total Score: 36

Population: n/a
GNI/capita: n/a
Life Expectancy: 65
Religious Groups: Tibetan Buddhist Lamaist (96 percent), other [including Muslim (4 percent)
Ethnic Groups: Mongol (85 percent), Kazakh (7 percent), other (8 percent)
Capital: Ulaanbaatar

Despite some instances of official pressure, press freedom, provided for in the constitution, is generally respected. A 1999 media law bans the censorship of public information and also requires authorities to privatize all media. However, the government has delayed implementing this provision, and the majority of broadcast outlets, which serve as the main source of news for most Mongolians, remain under state control. Although political parties or business interests finance many private media outlets, both privately owned and state-run media continue to offer a range of views. At times the government files libel suits and launches tax audits against publications in the wake of critical articles. Libel charges are hard to defend against because the law places the burden on the defendant to prove the truth of the statement at issue. A court in 2002 sentenced the editor-in-chief of Word newspaper to one year in jail for libel, drawing widespread criticism from the media. In addition, lack of access to information continues to hamper investigative journalism and coverage of political issues. In this environment, some journalists practice self-censorship.

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