Media outlets vow to deliver more “Made in Mongolia” creative content

Artists, cultural workers, policymakers and media professionals gathered in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia to attend two workshops on diverse cultural expressions and media diversity. The trainings were organized by UNESCO Beijing Office from 10-13 September 2019, and paved the way to a participatory preparation of Mongolia’s Quadrennial Periodic Report (QPR) to the UNESCO 2005 Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions.

 

Story, utility and modernity

During the three-day workshop that introduced the UNESCO’s 2005 Convention, the desire to understand the principles of the 2005 Convention and to translate them into cultural policies that enable the Mongolian creative sector – and ultimately the country’s sustainable development – was consistently seen among participants. 

“Story, utility and modernity separate the cultural industry from others,” said Charles Vallerand, a UNESCO Expert Facility member. This particular industry has a “story to tell,” expressed in various forms like movies, books or dance. It is “not utilitarian,” serving no practical purposes except to deliver messages. It is “contemporary,” reflecting subjective realities that each artist experiences today – explained the cultural expert. “Ultimately, the 2005 Convention is a policy tool for contemporary expressions to be created, delivered and accessed”, concluded Vallerand, highlighting the relationship between diversity of content in cultural markets and the UNESCO Convention.

The training, which took place from 10-12 September, also emphasized the role of civil society in cultural policy work. The inputs from non-government actors, backed by evidence and testimonies, are essential in order to realize the goals of UNESCO Convention fully and achieve cultural governance that reflect the current needs of creative workers. An essential step towards this vision is to involve civil society organizations in Mongolia’s quadrennial periodic report, a mandatory form on the state of cultural policies submitted by Parties to the Convention every four years; participants heard that the actions and existing gaps reported by such organizations must be duly captured. The session also demonstrated a newly updated quadrennial periodic reporting form.

 

Supporting Mongolian content

“What types of information should we disseminate, through which channels, and to whom?”  Various local media outlets participated in lively discussions about the current state and the future of Mongolia’s media during a training on 13 September. The importance of media diversity, a key issue in the monitoring framework of the 2005 Convention, was the guiding principle throughout thought-provoking debates.

At the end of the workshop, the attendees were able to make a clear connection between diverse cultural expressions and media diversity. They have agreed that open media is an essential facilitator of a society that celebrates diverse artistic and cultural offerings, as it is through media that diverse content and ideas are disseminated widely, made accessible to the public, and appreciated by all. Building on this principle, the UNESCO Expert Facility members suggested a creation of a formalized system to better circulate local creations, projecting culture in both a traditional and modern way.

The experts have added that achieving public awareness, in today’s changing media landscape,  is no longer the sole responsibility of state-controlled media but also of the arising private media companies.

The event, broadcasted on 11 different channels around Mongolia, initiated an important dialogue on cultural policies between media professionals and civil society actors. The knowledge acquired and network fostered through these trainings will serve the National Team in the preparation of Mongolia’s third QPR due in April 2020.