ANN Special: Mongolia's battle against fake news

Journalist A.Odontuya

2017-10-30 10:11 GMT+8

ULAANBAATAR (GoGo Mongolia/ANN Desk) - Mongolia's media council is urging journalists to not become disseminators of fake news.

In March, a story with a picture of the US President signing a document went viral on social media. It read: “Donald Trump signs a visa-free travel policy for Mongolia”.

The Embassy of the United States in Ulaanbaatar had to issue a statement debunking the news as fake.

Spread of fake news is rampant in Mongolia and the steps media has been taking in busting it, so far, are obviously not enough. The Media Council, an internal regulatory organisation established in 2015, is urging journalists to not become disseminators of fake news and to follow media ethics.

However, with citizen journalism becoming popular in this country of 3.1 million people,  it is a tall order to tell who is a genuine journalist and which is a genuine media platform from the over 200 websites operating in Mongolia.

Often people run two or more websites from their homes and it is mostly these people who are guilty of spreading fake news – thereby bringing a bad name to the entire journalistic community. 

There is little awareness amongst people about fake news, making them quite gullible. The schools offer no programmes to teach how to filter out fake news.

Copy desks discussed publishing content to help readers and recipients bust fake news at the recently concluded Media Ethics Forum. Editor-in-chief of GoGo News Agency, O. Ariunbileg, said, “The time has come for media organisations to educate people on avoiding the fake news.”

In this scenario, journalists can show alertness when they find a news item that is sensational or over-the-top and run a fact-check.

Mongolia's effort to fight fake news

Mainstream media should try its best to fact-check news before it uploads or publishes.

Various media platforms have agreed to run an awareness drive to teach their readers how to tell fake news apart from real.

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