Friday, October 19, 2007

[The Chosun Ilbo, October 18 2007] S.Korea’s Press Freedom Ranking Plummets

Press freedom in South Korea deteriorated this year amid growing criticism from experts and civic groups of the government's new press policy. According to the 2007 World Press Freedom Index released on Tuesday by Paris-based Reporters Without Borders (RSF), South Korea fell from 31st place in 2006 to 39th this year.

Japan ranked 51st last year, much lower than South Korea, but jumped to 37th place this year. On June 2, in a lecture to a supporters’ club, President Roh Moo-hyun quoted the RSF's 2006 World Press Freedom Index to justify his new press policy, which includes shutting press rooms in government agencies and combining them into a handful of centralized briefing rooms. He pointed out that his government’s ranking was higher than that of Japan, which maintains pressrooms.

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