Bloomberg stands by reporter DP has targeted

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Bloomberg stands by reporter DP has targeted

Bloomberg said it stood by a Seoul correspondent Monday night after South Korea’s ruling Democratic Party (DP) accused her of “treachery” over an analysis piece last year that described President Moon Jae-in as the “top spokesman” for North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.

Responding to an email from the Korea JoongAng Daily asking for a comment on the issue, a spokesperson for the news service said, “We stand by our reporting and our reporter.”

No further statement was given and the Bloomberg spokesperson suggested the Korea JoongAng Daily refer to a statement from the Seoul Foreign Correspondents’ Club issued last Saturday and another statement from Asian American Journalists Association (AAJA)’s Asia chapter and Seoul subchapter released Monday afternoon.

AAJA-Asia, which represents journalists across the Asia-Pacific region, condemned the DP’s statement, saying Monday that it was “disturbed” by the ruling party’s rhetoric targeting a journalist and “further disturbed” that following the DP’s accusations, she has faced threats to her personal safety.

“Threatening or intimidating behavior towards journalists is unacceptable and needs to stop,” the group said in its statement, which was issued in both English and Korean.

“Such activities have a chilling effect and undermine the freedom of the press for all journalists working in Korea.”

AAJA-Asia further pointed out that the issue highlighted some “misconceptions” in how foreign media is conceived by Korean media, stressing that an important share of reporting by international media outlets is contributed by Korean reporters from the country they’re reporting on, who are fluent in the country’s language and culture.

“Many Korean reporters have played a crucial role in helping international media strengthen their reporting and diversify the perspectives in their newsroom,” said AAJA-Asia, adding that the actual operation of “foreign reporting” in Korea is a combination of outside perspectives combined with local insights from Korean reporters.

AAJA-Asia has nearly 200 members across the Asia-Pacific and is part of the larger AAJA, which has more than 1,500 members in the United States and Asia combined.

A Seoul Bloomberg correspondent and the main opposition Liberty Korea Party (LKP) have been in the crosshairs of Moon advocates and the DP after LKP floor leader, Rep. Na Kyung-won, said during a parliamentary speech on March 12 that she doesn’t want to hear the “humiliating rhetoric” that Moon is acting like Kim’s “top spokesman.”

The Blue House reacted with outrage and the LKP said it was citing an article from Bloomberg published last September under the headline “South Korea’s Moon Becomes Kim Jong Un’s Top Spokesman at UN.”

The DP singled out the reporter of the article, a South Korean national, last Thursday in an official statement, saying the article was a “notorious” piece authored by a person who had just transferred to Bloomberg after working at a local news agency.

The DP, while mentioning the reporter’s full Korean name, said the article was close to an act of “treachery” that insulted the head of a state “underneath the cover of a U.S. wire service.”

BY LEE SUNG-EUN [lee.sungeun@joongang.co.kr]

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