Monday, November 28, 2022

South Korean president suspends Q&As amid disagreement with press

President Yoon Suk Yeol’s behaviour mirrors that of his predecessors who avoided the press because of sensitive questions.

• November 22, 2022
President Yoon Suk Yeol

President Yoon Suk Yeol of South Korea has suspended his symbolic question and answer session following his recent altercations with the press. 

Mr Yoon, who also promised to stay off press coverage, has been severely criticised for banning the MBC Television crew from the presidential plane press pool. 

The president, since assuming office in May, has regularly received questions from reporters at the lobby of the presidential building in an initiative called ‘door-stepping’, in line with his campaign promises to improve communication, VOA news reports.

He had briefly changed the narrative that his predecessors avoided the press because of sensitive questions. 

In a statement released by his office on Monday, it was reported that “a recent unsavoury incident” has led to the cancellation of the question and answer session. 

“The ‘door-stepping’ was initiated for the sake of open communications with the public. We will consider whether to resume it if some measures that can meet its objective well are arranged,” the statement added. 

An argument between Mr Yoon’s assistant and an MBC reporter over his office’s decision to bar the MBC crew from the media pool on his presidential plane flying to Cambodia and Indonesia for summits earlier this month is widely believed to be the “unsavoury incident”.

The president’s office, however, insists that MBC was prohibited because of its “repeated distortion and biased reporting” on diplomatic affairs.

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