Mongolia: RSF urges for the release of news site chief editor

Reporters Without Borders (RSF) calls on Mongolian authorities to release journalist Unurtsetseg Naran. Kept in pre-trial detention since early December, she has been charged with spreading false information after she posted comments critical of the judiciary on social media. Her news outlet,, has also been blocked for two days.


Update 16/02/2024: Unurtsetseg Naran was released on bail on 9 February 2024, after 68 days of pre-trial detention.


Unurtsetseg Naran, journalist and editor-in-chief of news website, was arrested on 4 December and sent into pre-trial detention for a month in the Mongolian capital, Ulaanbaatar, after she failed to appear before law enforcement authorities to testify in case filed against her, in relation to her critical comments on the judiciary system. 

A few weeks earlier, on 13 October, the General Judiciary Council, which role is to maintain the independence of Mongolian judiciary, had requested the opening of an investigation against her, after she posted comments on social media criticising the activities of the courts and a prosecutor. The Council charged her with "spreading false information" under the Criminal Code. On 19 December, the Songinokhairkhan district criminal court for the fourth time upheld the decision to keep journalist Unurtsetseg Naran in pre-trial detention for a month while she is being investigated.

“This case comes as a surprise, as Mongolia has demonstrated clear efforts to commit to the principles of freedom and media pluralism in the past three decades. Depriving a reporter from her freedom, on the pretext of fighting against disinformation, simply because she criticised the judicial system on her social media channels, is clearly abusive. We urge authorities to end proceedings against Unurtsetseg Naran and call for her immediate release.

Cédric Alviani
RSF Asia-Pacific Bureau Director

Two days before Naran Unurtsetseg’s arrest,’s website had been blocked by the Mongolia’s Communications Regulatory Commission as per Prosecutor's permission and Police's decision. The media’s online platform was then added to the illegal domains. Access to the news site was restored after two days, following protests from the journalistic community. 

In the past, Naran Unurtstetseg exposed corruption and money-laundering practices of high-ranking Mongolian officials. She notably exposed fraud to the Development Bank in 2022 and diversion of the State Educational Loan Funds in May 2023. Unurtsetseg in the past four years faced 16 defamation charges initiated by politicians mentioned in her reporting. While she won most of the cases, Unurtsetseg still faces a fine of around 750 euros, which equates to two months’ salary for the majority of journalists in the country.

Mongolia, moved up two places in the 2023 World Press Freedom Index and currently ranks 88th out of 180 countries. A liberal democracy since the early 1990s, Mongolia has shown steady interest in promoting the right to information, as well as media pluralism and independence. 

In March 2023, RSF commended the presidential veto – backed by the State Great Khural (the Mongolian Parliament) – of a bill on social media posing a potential threat to journalism and the public's right to information.

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