Asian media community discusses opportunities and challenges the Mongolian media faces in Steppe-ing forward

2020-11-19 11:07:01

Ulaanbaatar /MONTSAME/ Disinformation, changing media landscapes, and the COVID-19 pandemic has undermined the very fabric of the news industry across Asia. These challenges have damaged the trust in the media that is essential to our democratic institutions. With the erosion of civic space and a truly free press across the region, it’s essential that media and journalists begin to rethink the way they work in Mongolia and across the region.


People In Need, in partnership with NEST Center 4 Journalism Innovation and Development NGO and the U.S. Embassy in Ulaanbaatar introduced the findings of an online survey aimed to identify public information consumption and needs.


The survey found that there is a growing demand for news about education, scholarships, health and environment in Mongolia. News consumers prefer speed over accuracy, posing a strong challenge for professional journalism. The survey findings suggest that the current business model used by the Mongolian media fails to secure economic freedom of the press. But the majority of the respondents said they were willing to pay for news. This is a positive change at the wake of Covid-19 compared to a year ago when consumers said, “news should be offered for free”. 


The U.S Ambassador to Mongolia H.E Michael Klecheski opened the survey launch conference. In his remarks, he emphasized the importance of free and independent journalism for democracy. “Mongolia and the U.S are third neighbors. We are also strategic partners. We share a lot of values, including democracy and independent journalism-bringing transparency and accountability across institutions. Free and informed press ensures that citizens are informed, knowledgeable about important events… All of us, governments, citizens, civil society and the media have a responsibility, not only to talk about the free media, but to protect it from abuse and misuse. Journalists have to be allowed to freely exercise their trade and they have to do it free of malign influence, coercion from others, so that the information is accurate, so that there is free expression. Over the past several years we have seen how malign actors-unfortunately-tried to use the media to spread misinformation, so it seeds up doubt and confusion. This is particularly painful as the world grapples with the pandemic. But the good news is that we can all work to fight disinformation and we can work to reinforce our institutions, including free press.”


The online event attracted about 60 participants from across Asia, including Myanmar, Singapore and the Philippines. Freedom of media in Mongolia is at stake as the country faces its first community transmission cases of the Covid-19. But the survey emphasized the importance of looking into new and unconventional ways to secure economic independence of the media and boost media literacy among the public.


The recording of the survey launch event can be found here (

The survey can be found here in English. (

The survey can be found here in Mongolian (