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“We Are Encircled by the Press,” President Says

Posted January. 04, 2004 23:05,   


“The government official community is encircled by the press, and it is the encirclement lines that separate the government from the people,” said President Roh Moo-hyun on January 3. He stressed, “If we don’t overcome this, we won’t be rightly evaluated by the people. I want to see this year as the year of leaping over the barrier.”

“What the government has accomplished has failed to be delivered rightly to the people or was just glossed over,” said the president at the third policy workshop of the Participatory Government attended by 110 high officials including ministers and assistant ministers.

“In retrospect, our well-considered decisions and us acting on them were often unfairly hacked by criticisms that are too unreasonable to be convincing. When ministers and presidential aids were faced with such criticisms I found myself being at a loss for what to do,” he said. The president continued, “[The press] continues to reproduce the old ways of thinking that we want to break from and it further encircles me.”

“We should openly refute their ‘facts’ as well as ‘opinions,’ and all public servants should work like public relations agents for the government,” President Roh continued. “We never allow what we have done to be glossed over. As public servants, we need to have pride and a sense of mission. In this way we will change the way the writers think.”

“I believe it is the press that exerts the most influence on setting the social agenda. If the press’s spotlight does not shine on the issue even if it may be important, we should make it ooze light itself,” President Roh concluded.

Jeong-Hun Kim jnghn@donga.com