Two training sessions with journalists in Ulaan Baatar and Darhan on ethics, investigative journalism and fake news were full, with many participants asking pointed questions. They were interested in the U.S. investigation of Russia’s involvement with American social media platforms during the 2016 election.
One significant fake news story held that China exported HIV/AIDS to Mongolia through a tainted banana. Journalists said this fabrication was widely distributed by online journalists. Participants all have Facebook accounts, which they said can be a source of bad information. They enjoyed learning about sites like Snopes, VOA’s Polygraph and other fact-check operations.
By the end of training, journalists came up with investigative story ideas:
- Government’s failure to police water pollution at mining sites
- Land distribution at the local level
- Funding for the education sector in Mongolia
- Investigations on corruption of public officials
- The personal life of the president who has failed to be transparent about his marital status.