The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) is alarmed
by the ongoing detention of a senior media union leader in South Korea, and fears management of
the YTN broadcaster and the authorities are colluding to disrupt negotiations to
resolve a long-running industrial dispute.
chairman Jong-Myun Roh is still in police detention after being arrested with Duck-Soo
Hyun, former chairman of the YTN union, Seoung-Ho Jo and Jang-Hyuk Lim on March
22, the day before YTN staff were to take strike action, according to the
Journalists’ Association of Korea (JAK), an IFJ affiliate.
union representatives were released after a local court rejected their arrest
At the time of the arrests, JAK representatives
told the IFJ the union leaders had already agreed with police to answer a
summons to appear today.
intervention in a non-violent industrial negotiation process signifies a lack
of respect for applying democratic principles to resolve disputes about workers’
rights through peaceful negotiation,” IFJ Asia-Pacific
Director Jacqueline Park said.
reporter was arrested because he promoted political neutrality in journalism,''
YTN staff have been protesting for eight months to seek
guarantees of editorial independence at the broadcaster, following last year’s
appointment of Gu Bon-Hong as YTN president. Gu previously worked as an aide to
President, Myung-Bak Lee, which raised concerns among YTN staff about potential
attempts by the Government to exercise undue political influence on the
Management has responded to the protest actions by dismissing
some staff and initiating disciplinary action, complaints to police and court
The IFJ condemns the management’s continued resort to police
action, which is contrary to the IFJ’s advice in a letter to President Lee and
YTN management in February which called on management to refrain from
complaints to police and court injunctions.
The IFJ again appeals to YTN management to show good will
and to negotiate fairly and openly with staff to resolve the dispute in a
manner that serves quality journalism and the best interests of the Korean
“The use of police power to remove a key participant in the
YTN negotiation process reinforces the concerns of YTN staff about political
influence at the broadcaster,” Park said.
For the IFJ’s recommendations on a resolution to the
information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific on +612 9333 0919
The IFJ represents over 600,000 journalists in 120 countries worldwide