Today (30 January), Mongolian President U.Khurelsukh has decided to veto a controversial “law to protect human rights on social networks” that was hastily passed by parliament 10 days ago.
The veto means that the law, which – despite its avowed objectives – has the potential to seriously violate rights to free expression, will return to parliament for a second discussion.
Parliamentarians can still keep their previous decision but they need to get more votes to overturn the veto.
Civil society groups and journalists in Mongolia were alarmed when the country’s parliament passed a new law 20 on January, supposedly to “protect human rights on social media.” Approved less than three days after it was introduced to the public for the first time, human rights groups say the law threatens free speech and gives the state the ultimate power to regulate content on tech platforms.
Many people expressed concern over having these provisions covered by another law, particularly one which vests the power to a unit of government – the proposed “public relations unit” to be created under Mongolia’s Public Center for Combating Cyber Attacks and Violations. It concentrates broad powers on a single unit of state.
The unit then becomes both the “police, prosecutor, and court,” she pointed out. It then becomes the intermediary between citizens and the 3.5 million citizens of Mongolia. The main danger, she said, is that decisions could be very subjective.