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Ulaanbaatar, November 2021 – At a Media4Democracy-led Expert Briefing, EU Delegation and Member State staff discussed ways to support Access to Information in Mongolia as a means to strengthen democracy, good governance and freedom of expression. Opening the 24 November briefing, Marco Ferri, the Deputy Head of the EU Delegation to Mongolia, said that Media4Democracy technical assistance as well as any plans to strengthen Access to Information that might emerge from that day’s expert briefing would also contribute to the EU Delegation’s strategic human rights and democracy support objectives.

Media4Democracy Senior Expert Bill Orme led the briefing and presented recommendations for potential EU Delegation and EU Member State actions associated with political and policy engagements with the government, engagements with civil society and media actors as well as potential programming initiatives.

Alongside EU staff in Mongolia and Beijing, the EU Member States’ representatives joining the briefing were from Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Germany, Italy and the Netherlands.

The briefing was based on research and analysis first presented in the May 2020 Media4Democracy Strengthening Access to Information in Mongolia Assessment Report and updated in a September 2021 report Addendum. Mr. Orme noted that while the Addendum reviewed institutional and legislative developments and COVID-driven contextual shifts during the last year, its findings align to core 2020 recommendations calling for a mutually reinforcing ‘supply and demand’ approach to strengthening access-to-information implementation and international assistance.

 

Actions could include those to:

  • Strengthen expertise in the use of access-to-information rights, laws and systems in media and civil society to improve government transparency and accountability.
  • Assist relevant state agencies and actors in improving:) technical capacities to track and respond to legitimate requests for official information, per their statutory and constitutional obligations; and 2.) the proactive ‘supply’ of public information through government websites and other communications channels.
  • Raise public awareness about citizens’ legally guaranteed rights to official information and mechanisms to seek and receive documents and data from state agencies.

Following the formal briefing, EU representatives and Member States discussed factors including the local legal framework, institutional and operational context and aspects of E-governance, as well as pertinent issues placed within regional and global trends.

Mr. Orme noted that the Media4Democracy Practical Guide for EU Delegations on Strengthening Access to Information (https://media4democracy.eu/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/M4D-Ati-Practical-Guide-web-complet.pdf) provided a resource for planning and designing action for EU Delegation and EU Member States staff. Mr. Ferri closed the session saying that the range of concrete recommendations in the 2020 report and its Addendum would serve as practical guides for future EU Delegation planning in Mongolia.