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Yoon promises to better communicate with press

Posted March. 12, 2022 07:27,   

Updated March. 12, 2022 07:27


South Korean President-elect Yoon Suk-yeol said in his first press conference on Thursday after his winning, “I will have more opportunities to talk to the press members. I am ready to communicate with the press frequently.” In the second TV debate co-hosted by six broadcasting stations on Feb. 11, he promised to see reporters with his mind open once a week even if there is no particular issue to talk of. Although it is doubtful if such a bold weekly plan may work out, it is important for the president of a nation to have Q&A sessions on current issues with the press, albeit briefly, on a regular basis.

Incumbent President Moon Jae-in also said in his inaugural address five years ago that his plan is to communicate with citizens frequently. “As President, I will brief the public on major issues. After work, I may visit a market to exchange friendly talks with those whom I encounter,” he said. “Large-scale public debates in Gwanghwamun Square are also part of my plan.”


Except inevitable Q&A sessions held in front of overseas reporters regarding issues such as the U.S.-North Korea summit talk, President Moon met reporters just 10 times for the past five years - four New Year’s press conferences, four news interviews in celebration of his inaugural day, and two dialogue sessions with the public.

U.S. presidents used to visit the White House press room to brief reporters on important issues and answer their questions. In France, points de presse are installed regardless of venues for every presidential event so that the president can answer reporters’ questions in person. Japanese journalists follow the prime minister 24/7 and make sure to seek answers from the head of the state once a day.

Only South Korea holds a skewed practice of holding presidential press conferences once or twice a year as if they were special events. Key members of Cheong Wa Dae deliver president’s thoughts in South Korea. As democracy is a politics of speaking, this political system requires leaders’ sense of responsibility for keeping their words. Politics can fulfill all the responsibilities for citizens and remarkably reduce risks of a failed governance driven by self-righteousness only when the president utters his own words in person not by anyone who is described by the media as an anonymous official at Cheong Wa Dae.