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Reporters Protest MOD Shutdown of Pressroom

Posted December. 17, 2007 03:03,   


As part of the Roh administration’s anti-free speech policy disguised as its “Advanced Media Support System,” the Ministry of Defense shut down a pressroom located on the first floor of the new Ministry of Defense (MOD) building in Seoul.

MOD correspondents staged a sit-in all night to protest the move, calling it oppression of freedom of speech and a violation of the people’s right to access information.

Two MOD officials came into the pressroom at around 11:58 p.m. on Saturday and urged reporters to clear the room since it would be closed and sealed as of Sunday.

To enforce its new policy, the MOD shut down the heat and electricity to the room and revoked all press passes previously used by the press corps. Prior to this, the MOD also denied reporters internet access starting December 5.

18 MOD correspondents from different newspapers and TV stations got together at around 10:00 p.m. on Saturday and waged a candlelight sit-in, strongly protesting the shutdown. The reporters, wrapped in their own blankets and thick clothes, sat up all night writing articles.

The MOD urged the reporters to put out their candles and made other demands. Otherwise, the protest was peaceful.

The authorities also put MPs at the building entrance to block reporters from re-entering.

Some newspapers and TV stations requested a visit permit to cover the story, but the MOD denied their requests.