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May 23,2007
South Korean media changes draw fire
by UPI

SEOUL - Opposition parties, and politicians who support the South Korean government, criticized President Roh Moo-hyun's plan to close most government press rooms.

The move was approved by the South Korean Cabinet Tuesday despite growing opposition from journalists and lawmakers who say it is an effort to restrict news coverage. The bill pushed by Roh's administration is called the "Program for Developed News Supporting System for Media."

Critics say it amounts to an effort to manage the news and violates press freedom, The Korea Times reported.

"It shows that the Roh government is biased against the press," said Lee Myung-bak, former mayor of Seoul and a candidate of the opposition Grand National Party for South Korea's presidential election in December.

Prime Minister Han Duck-soo said closing press rooms at government offices and police stations is intended to upgrade news coverage to world standards, The Korea Times said. The bill calls for an "electronic spokesman" for each ministry.

Journalists said the changes would block face-to-face contact with government officials.

Copyright ©  2007, by United Press International. All Rights Reserved.

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