Reporters Internet Access Shut Down In S. Korea

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The South Korean Government Information Agency cut Internet connections to a number of ministry pressrooms on Thursday. The move is part of an effort by South Korea to shut down what it calls collusive clubs.

The GIA wants to move the journalists to a newly built pressroom at the Central Government Complex. Most journalists say they will not move to the new briefing center and accuse the government of attempting to muzzle the press.

Journalists who cover nine government agencies issued a joint protest statement. "The government’s cut-off of the Internet and telephone connections in the pressrooms is an anti-democratic and reckless act that seriously infringes the people’s right to know and damages the watchdog function of the press."

The government campaign started when president Roh Moo-hyun told a cabinet meeting in January that reporters conspire to write critical stories about his government. The Korea News Editor’s Association says the entire plan is being used as a way to oppress media freedom. Others critical of the move said its reminiscent of the days when South Korean dictators censored the media.

Reporters Internet Access Shut Down In S. Korea
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