Saturday, February 09, 2008

[The Chosun Ilbo, January 17 2008] Swan Song for the Propaganda Office

Eight years and eight months after it was established, the Government Information Agency has come to the end of the road. The GIA has faced severe criticism for taking the lead in the Roh Moo-hyun administration's draconian press policies. The presidential Transition Committee on Wednesday said the GIA “has given priority to imposing regulations on, and interfering with, media companies, who are its consumers, and other government agencies."

Since none of the parliamentary parties, not even the ruling United New Democratic Party, oppose the plan, the GIA will be closed once the committee's government reorganization blueprint is approved by the National Assembly.


The GIA began drafting the press control policy after Roh in January last year accused journalists of “colluding” with each other in the press rooms to report stories a certain way. In May, the GIA released the so-called "advanced media support system", which permits reporters to enter government buildings only after they declared which government officials they wanted to meet, and to gather information only through press relations officers. The GIA turned a deaf ear to criticism from even the otherwise friendly UNDP and all presidential candidates, as well as the press and the International Press Institute. It closed the press rooms at 11 government agencies, including the office of the prime minister, the Foreign Ministry and the National Police Agency in October.

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