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Honor to a Presidential Secretary for Press Support Scheme

Honor to a Presidential Secretary for Press Support Scheme

Posted December. 19, 2007 03:13,   


Yang Jung-chul, the presidential secretary on public relations (PR), is expected to receive a medal for contributing to the public interest even though he is the mastermind of the press support scheme, which has put a great strain on journalists.

At a cabinet meeting held on Tuesday presided over by President Roh Moo-hyun, a consensus was made to award Yang and others with medals and rewards for their dedication to their jobs.

Yang created and implemented the so-called press support scheme under the principles of President Roh. As a result, he has become the Public Servant of the Year.

Under the scheme, journalists handling the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Police Office were forced to leave the facilities of the public ministries while Defense Ministry journalists have been writing reports without the use of the Internet.

Chun Ho-sun, a Cheong Wa Dae spokesperson, said during a regular press briefing, “Government rewards go to good public servants who are recommended by the Ministry of Administration and Government Affairs.” However, Yang’s selection was made after the examination of the Presidential Human Resources Committee which made its decision based on ability.

The committee’s head is Moon Jae-in, the chief presidential secretary.

Yang worked at the PR department of the Nasan Group in 1994 and lobbied journalists for Jung Tae-soo, then CEO of Hanbo Steel Company, which had bribed the son of the then-president. Yang was subsequently fired from Korea Digital Satellite Broadcaster for leaking internal information.

He started to work for the president as a press administrator in 2003. He received some 200 million won in compensation from the broadcasting station. Yang made a public apology after it turned out that he had consulted with Samsung Group on the cost of holding a ceremony with the president attending in August 2005.

Yang was under suspicion for asking a favor to the former deputy minister of Culture and Tourism concerning a personnel arrangement last year. He stirred controversy with the press by sarcastically calling newspapers which criticized Roh as “hyena media outlets.”

Park Hyung-joon, a spokesperson for Grand National Party, said, “Honoring a person who controlled press freedom is a joke and deserves to be put in the ‘Strange World’ section in overseas newspapers. The current administration has proved that it does not consider the public’s interest and only pursue like-minded people.”

In the meantime, it was decided in the meeting to give medals and rewards to 228 public servants.