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Yonhap News Agency struggles to secure independence as nation's sole news agency

(IFJ/IFEX) - In a 17 October 2000 letter to Korean President Kim Dae-jung, the IFJ expressed its concern about the recent appointment of Kim Keun of Hankyoreh Shinmun as president of Yonhap News Agency.

The IFJ is disappointed with this appointment as President Kim had promised in his presidential election campaign in 1997 to make Yonhap independent of the government.

According to the IFJ's information, in 1980, the military regime usurped the ownership of then-several wire services and news agencies in Korea to make one news agency - Yonhap News Agency - to control the contents of the reports in the Korean press.

Since that time, the government may appoint the president publisher of Yonhap through the major public broadcasters - Korean Broadcasting System (KBS) and Munhwa Broadcasting Corporation (MBC), which are the major shareholders of Yonhap.

The Yonhap trade union has come up with a bill to create a public corporation through the transfer of the Yonhap stocks owned by KBS and MBC to Yonhap journalists to make it free from government control.

Recommended Action

Send appeals to the president:
- supporting the position of Yonhap News Agency in their struggle to secure independence as the nation's sole news agency

Appeals To


His Excellency Kim Dae-jung
President of the Republic of Korea
Fax: + 82 2 770 03 44

Please copy appeals to the source if possible.

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