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 Korean
Herald claims that force was used to evict two journalists who were already
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
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 0950
The IFJ represents more than 600,000 journalists in 131 countries
Find the IFJ on Twitter: @ifjasiapacific
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