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IPI welcomes president's commitment to improved media environment

(IPI/IFEX) - The following is an IPI press release:

IPI Welcomes South Korean President's Commitment to Improved Media Environment

Vienna, 30 April 2008 - The International Press Institute (IPI), the global network of editors, media executives and leading journalists in over 120 countries, welcomes President Lee Myung-bak's recently-voiced promise to embrace a "press-friendly policy", and invites him to go further by implementing much-needed legal reforms in South Korea.

According to information before IPI, since its inauguration in February 2008, President Lee Myung-bak's administration has instituted several positive changes in the country's media environment. For example, almost 60 press dispatch rooms closed during the previous administration have been reopened during the past two months.

However, challenges to press freedom remain. For example, while the much-maligned Measures for Developing an Advanced Media Support System, which aim to restrict reporters' entry to government offices and require ministry staff members to report their contacts with journalists to superiors, have not been enforced by the current administration, these have yet to be officially repealed. Similarly, the Act Governing the Guarantee of Freedom and Functions of Newspapers (often referred to as the "Newspaper Law") and the Newspaper and Press Arbitration Law (also known as the "Press Arbitration Law"), which IPI has repeatedly criticized as unduly restrictive in the past, remain in force.

"We warmly welcome President Myung-bak's commitment to improve relations with the media by removing some of the previously-imposed impediments to press freedom, and invite him to make the necessary changes to all laws that restrict press freedom and access to information in the country," commented IPI Director David Dadge.

For further information on the Measures for Developing an Advanced Media Support System, see: http://www.ifex.org/en/content/view/full/85856

For further information on the Newspaper Law, see: http://www.ifex.org/en/content/view/full/75450

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