Yoon’s office denies using ‘coercion’ against members of press

The presidential office in Yongsan District, Seoul, is seen in this April 12, 2023 file photo provided by the presidential office. Yonhap

The presidential office in Yongsan District, Seoul, is seen in this April 12, 2023 file photo provided by the presidential office. Yonhap

The presidential office said Monday it has never used “coercion” against members of the press, apparently responding to controversy over a senior presidential secretary’s intimidating remarks to reporters last week.

Hwang Sang-moo, senior presidential secretary for civil and social agenda, has come under fire after he told a reporter from public broadcaster MBC during a group luncheon to “listen carefully” while recalling the 1988 stabbing of a journalist by soldiers of the military intelligence command.

The attacked journalist wrote a column criticizing the military at the time, and Hwang’s remarks were interpreted as a warning to the media against running anti-government stories.

On Sunday, ruling People Power Party leader Han Dong-hoon called on Hwang to step down voluntarily.

“Our government has never surveilled members of the press by mobilizing intelligence agencies or carried out tax inspections of media outlets by mobilizing the National Tax Service, as past administrations did, nor do we have the intention or system in place to do so,” the presidential office said in a notice to the press.

“In particular, the presidential office has never used coercion or pressure against members of the press over specific issues, nor do we plan to do so.”

The presidential office added, “It is our government’s administrative philosophy to strictly respect the freedom of the press and the responsibility of media organizations.” (Yonhap)

Leave a Comment