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Free Speech in Mongolia


Assistant Secretary Tom Malinowski

Over the last 25 years, Mongolia has enacted reforms protecting human rights.

This year marks 25 years since Mongolia held a peaceful, democratic revolution. On a recent visit there U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor Tom Malinowski, observed that “In an era that saw so much violence and upheaval, Mongolia provided an example of a swift and nonviolent transition to a government that seeks to listen to its people in order to, as we often say in America, form a more perfect Union.”

Over the last 25 years, Mongolia has enacted reforms protecting human rights and expanding social and economic opportunities for its citizens. Though there is still much work to be done, said Assistant Secretary Malinowski, “the government has been doing what governments are supposed to do: removing restrictions on people to let them live lives of their own choosing according to their abilities.”

“Many factors have played a role in the success of Mongolia’s democracy, but there’s no doubt in my mind that a free media has been front and center.” Assistant Secretary Malinowski went on to say that, “Every country has good journalism and bad journalism. Every country has truth and falsehood in its media. But the government should not be the one deciding the difference. And the answer to bad journalism is not to put journalists in prison. Because when governments have the power to do that, they tend to use it against journalists who criticize them — against journalists who are just doing their job. A far better answer is to encourage the media to adopt high standards of its own, and to police them through strong mechanisms of self-regulation.”

“In your 25th year of democracy,” said Assistant Secretary Malinowski, “the United States is eager to help you think through these challenges and build on your achievements thus far. We thank you for your commitment to democratic freedoms and for your leadership.”

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