Saturday, January 05, 2008

[The Chosun Ilbo, December 17 2007] Standoff as Defense Ministry Closes Press Room

The Ministry of Defense on Sunday tried to evict all reporters from the press room on the first floor of the new ministry building, shutting off electricity and heat. The ministry has been demanding reporters move to an integrated so-called media center behind the old annex, a 10-minute walk away, where the offices of the minister and vice minister of defense as well as the Joint Chiefs of Staff are located.

Two officials from the public relations team at the ministry visited the press room and demanded reporters vacate it by 12 a.m. Sunday. When reporters refused, the ministry immediately shut off the electricity. The 18 journalists based in the press room held a candlelight vigil protesting the measure and some resisted demands by ministry officials to leave. There was a shouting match after a ministry official demanded the reporters extinguish their candles due to fire safety concerns and reporters told the officials to get out. But there was no physical confrontation.

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