Spit out the gagNewspapers have printed a photo that makes us wonder if this nation is a democratic one. The photo portrayed a group of journalists discussing what they should do after the Roh Moo-hyun administration evicted them in its push to build a briefing room at the Foreign Ministry.
The photo will speak for the Roh administration’s oppression of the press, more vicious and crafty than that of past military regimes.
The administration announced yesterday its revised media policy implementation plan. Article 11 of the prime minister’s order, which required public servants to consult with the public affairs office before media interviews, and Article 12, which required public servants to limit where they talk to the media to government interview rooms, were removed.
It is only natural that such harmful, undemocratic, unprecedented clauses were removed, but the chief public affairs policymaker maintained his brazen attitude when making the announcement, as if the administration was doing the media a big favor.
During the conference, he said, “We will try to come up with systemic measures to provide real help.” He said, however, that the administration will push forward its plan for building a new briefing center at the government complex, making clear that the journalists’ rooms at ministries will be shut down for consolidation. The administration said construction will be completed by the Chuseok holiday.
As we have pointed out before, there is only one resolution “to provide real help.” The administration must withdraw its new media policy and stop construction at the journalist facilities at the ministries. It is not too late. The measure will set back Korea’s democracy for decades. The administration must stop this anti-historic, undemocratic policy of containing the media now.
At the same time, those who made the decision to adopt this policy must be held accountable. The administration spent tens of billions of won(millions of dollars) to push forward a project that will be soon be reversed, and we should hold them accountable.
The Byeon Yang-kyoon-Shin Jeong-ah scandal and the Kim Sang-jin-Jung Yun-jae connection were revealed by media reports. If the nation’s media only reported what the government fed them, these cases would never be made public. That is why we are opposing the Roh administration’s attempt to gag the press.