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 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

Find the IFJ on Facebook: www.facebook.com/IFJAsiaPacific