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“Lift Contact Limits on Public Officials”

Posted June. 05, 2007 17:31,   


On June 4, the World Association of Newspapers (WAN) said that it sent a letter of protest to President Roh Moo-hyun asking him to lift government measures to shut down most of the press rooms at government offices in Korea and limit reporters’ contact with public officials.

The WAN is a media organization of newspaper publishers and editors from 18,000 newspapers in 102 countries around the world.

This letter was announced jointly by Gavin O’Reilly, the president of the WAN, and George Brock, the president of the World Editors Forum, at the 60th WAN Conference and 14th WEF opened on June 4 in Cape Town in South Africa.

They expressed their concern in the letter of protest, saying, “The WAN and WEF believe that Korea’s new regulations would constrain reporters’ access to government officials and cause negative repercussions to news reporting.” They then urged President Roh “to lift the new regulations, and come up with measures to fully support the media so that it can play its certified duty of monitoring the government.”

They went on to say, “It was reported that on May 22 that the Korean government announced its regulations to reduce the number of press rooms and limit contact of reporters to government officials,” pointing out, “The new regulations would strictly limit the access of reporters to government offices if reporting in a press room is replaced by electronic briefings, which will also limit the contact in terms of overall management.”

They also said, “We are concerned that the regulations would negatively influence the role of the media that is supposedly sending information to the people as public officials are keen to avoid information disclosures.”

The event, held for the first time in Africa, will run until June 6 under the theme: "Shaping the Future of the Newspaper" with an attendance of 1,500 managers and editors of newspapers and news correspondence companies worldwide.