On World Press Freedom Day, Globe International Centre, a Mongolian free expression NGO, has called for online media self-regulation.
Madam Naranjargal Khashkhuu, the President and Chief Executive Officer of Globe International Centre, said efficient online media self-regulation would truly serve the public interest.
She said self-regulation would protect the independence of the media and promote professionalism among journalists.
Contributing to a debate at the 2018 World Press Freedom Day in Accra, on the topic “Does online speech need regulation or self-regulation?” Madam Khashkhuu said self-regulation was about accountable and responsible media.
Madam Khashkhuu said the media could not legally really be regulated.
She said freedom of expression required a special duty and responsibility; stating that “this is one thing which cannot be restricted but it is not an absolute right”.
She said her native Mongolia had a highly saturated media market.
“I am a strong supporter of self-regulation but everything has two sides. It has some weaknesses,” she said.
Madam Khashkhuu said there were three key pillars of efficient media self-regulation – political independence, financial independence and absolute support of media users and audience.
She said the right to information was very important for democracy to thrive.
She also called for the education and sensitisation of the people on their rights.
Mr George Sarpong, Executive Secretary, National Media Commission, on his part, said all stakeholders needed to work together to formulate what worked for the good of society.
He said there was the need for industry to come up with a set of standards that they themselves believed would help society.
He said, however, those standards needed to be subjected to review by the regulatory authorities to agree that they were not colluding and then to work together towards the most effective way of regulating the industry.
The 2018 World Press Freedom Day, on the theme, “Keeping Power in Check: Media, Justice and The Rule of Law,” is being organised by the UNESCO in collaboration with the Government of Ghana.
The event brought together over 700 leading actors from the media, civil society, policy makers, representatives of the judiciary, and academia to discuss latest developments and pressing challenges related to press freedom and the safety of journalists.
The World Press Freedom Day celebration found its origin in the Windhoek Declaration, calling for media pluralism and independence, adopted in 1991 in Namibia.
Since 1993, the Day had been the UN International Day on freedom of expression and press freedom.
This year’s celebration focuses on the role of the media in speaking truth to power and ensuring accountability of institutions and policymakers.