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Pres. Office Enforces New Limits on Reporters

Posted September. 18, 2009 08:39,   


The presidential office of Cheong Wa Dae’s plan to reduce the number of reporters covering the office is causing a stir.

The presidential office notified all media companies Wednesday that it would not give a news briefing on President Lee Myung-bak’s meeting with mayors and governors nationwide held that evening. Since the meeting was announced and opening coverage of the event was banned, reporters had requested a briefing.

The move by the presidential office was blasted by reporters, with one saying, “The government should give briefings not to bestow a favor to the people but to fulfill its duty to uphold the people’s right to know. But Cheong Wa Dae apparently seeks to rein in the media with briefings.”

Reporters were also banned from covering President Lee’s meeting with former ruling Grand National Party Chairwoman Park Geun-hye and another with a European delegation Wednesday.

Journalists normally assigned to the presidential office take turns to cover pre-announced events there. This is to prevent disturbances stemming from the participation of all reporters at the same time. The presidential office, however, broke such a rule without prior consultation with reporters.

The office will also reduce the number of electronic news gathering reporters allocated to each broadcaster from three to one. It prohibited photographers and reporters Wednesday from entering the presidential office while imposing restrictions on electronic news gathering reporters.

Cheong Wa Dae will reportedly allow only one reporter from each newspaper to cover the presidential office, effectively barring assistant reporters. The office is set to enforce the rule after ignoring it for the past 19 months.

Presidential office pressroom chief Lee Sang-hwi also apologized yesterday for the events that happened Wednesday.