Korean Newspaper HankookIIbo Locks Out Journalists

Media Release: Korea July 4, 2013
The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) joins its Korean affiliate in strongly condemning the actions of the owner and chairman of Korean daily newspaper HankookIIbo, Chang Jae-ku. On June 15 Chang Jae-ku locked over 180 journalists from the newspaper offices. The conflict between the parties arose on May 29 when many of the newspaper’s editorial journalists lodged a complaint with the Seoul Public Prosecutor’s Office accusing Chang of a “breach of trust” in his management of the newspaper. In response, Chang hired private security guards to prevent the journalists, editorial writers and other employees from entering the newsroom. The KoreanHerald claims that force was used to evict two journalists who were already inside. The locked-out journalists have now been totally excluded from the newspaper’s editorial process, losing their rights to investigate issues and write news stories. In response to the management lock-out, the journalists are protesting in front of the newspaper’s offices. The company subsequently demoted the editor-in-chief to a lower rank, replacing him instead with a retired editorial writer and appointing two outsiders as editorial writers. Currently only half of the newspaper content consists of articles by its own journalists. The remainder are sourced from agencies. The IFJ and its affiliates are adamant in their view that Chang’s restrictions prohibit freedom of the press and are an attack on the readers’ “right to know”. Various editorial writers for the newspaper have since released a statement, voicing their opinion that “a newspaper without the sweat and hard work of journalists can no longer qualify as a true newspaper”. These actions are viewed as unprecedented in Korea’s history of journalism. The IFJ expresses its solidarity with the ousted journalists and strongly urges Chang to reconsider his position immediately. For further information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific on +612 9333 0950The IFJ represents more than 600,000 journalists in 131 countriesFind the IFJ on Twitter: @ifjasiapacificFind the IFJ on Facebook: www.facebook.com/IFJAsiaPacific