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Uri Party: Our Media Policy Needs Change

Posted November. 04, 2005 07:13,   


Since its landslide defeat in the October 26 elections, a self-examination is taking place within the presidential office of Cheong Wa Dae and the ruling Uri Party regarding their relationship with the press.

They believe that their excessively tense relations with the press are backfiring. Some say they should take special measures to remedy this, including reshuffling their public relations systems.

Meanwhile, the Grand National Party (GNP) criticized the ruling party, saying, “The ruling party’s publicity of state affairs is a de facto promotion of the administration.”

Cheong Wa Dae Wants Press Attention-

Cheong Wa Dae has recently been asking for the media to pay attention to President Roh Moo-hyun.

When the progress report meeting on policies for small- and mid-sized enterprises (SME) on November 1, attended by President Roh, was not fully covered by the press, Kim Man-soo, the presidential spokesperson, called for the cooperation of the press when he said, “It feels frustrating because the event was not fully reported despite its substantial importance.”

This may be a message from Cheong Wa Dae that the president does not want to sit back and suffer the opposition’s criticism that he “does not take care of the people’s livelihood” any longer. Statements made by presidential aides asking for a “proper look at the president” may also be related to this.

At the same time, Cheong Wa Dae is making every effort to take control of the president’s messages to the public, as some of his messages have often created unexpected results.

A case in point: When President Roh said on October 30 that he would “announce his future plans by early next year,” most of the media reports were concentrated on the president’s political determination regarding his “future direction.” With regard to the issue, it is said that Cheong Wa Dae launched an internal investigation into the details of the case to find out whether there was “something wrong with the control over the president’s messages.”

One key official at Cheong Wa Dae said, “The media’s cooperation is crucial in making sure that the President’s future plans, which will be released early next year, reach the people’s hearts.”

Uri Party Blames PR Failures for Election Defeat-

Some members of the Uri Party pointed to the party’s clumsy dealings with the press as the main reason why it was defeated in the October 26 elections.

“One of the reasons why the Uri Party has seen its approval rating plunge is that the party and the government have failed to properly deal with the media,” said Yang Hyung-il, the vice director of the party’s policy research institute.

“The party should reshuffle its organizations from the current spokesperson-centered one to a media-oriented one,” said Rep. Park Young-sun, who served as spokeswoman of the party.

Some said they should settle the party’s conflict with the press.

A senior lawmaker told this reporter on November 3, “We can no longer continue this tense relationship with the press. The party and Cheong Wa Dae will soon make a change in their media policies.”

GNP Wants Government Information Agency Abolished-

On November 3, the GNP introduced a revised bill of the Government Organization Act that includes the disbanding of the Government Information Agency (GIA) and makes the Office for Government Policy Coordination (OGPC) responsible for the coordination of public relations.

The opposition party claimed that the GIA has degenerated into an “administration information agency” that concentrates on publicizing the president and the current administration rather than government policies.

“The GIA has arbitrarily categorized media reports and utilized government officials’ performances in dealing with the press as the criteria for its performance assessment, thereby undermining Constitutionally-guaranteed freedom of speech and the political neutrality of government officials,” said Rep. Chung Jong-bok, the author of the revised draft.

In the Culture and Tourism Committee of the National Assembly on November 2, the GNP criticized, “The GIA is an administration information agency that is frantically seeking to slander the opposition party,” in response to GIA Assistant Manager Lee Baek-man’s column, titled, “The GNP tax-cut draft is a policy for the rich.”