Domestic journalism organizations have issued a joint statement protesting the presidential office's decision to ban MBC reporters from boarding the presidential plane during President Yoon Suk Yeol's trip to Southeast Asia.
The top office notified the broadcaster of the decision on Wednesday, two days ahead of Yoon's departure on a six-day trip to Cambodia and Indonesia to attend summits of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and the G20.
The office said the decision was made in light of repeated distortions and biased reporting on foreign affairs by MBC, adding that the exclusion was “inevitable” to prevent a continuance of such reporting.
The Journalists Association of Korea and seven other journalism groups on Thursday issued an emergency joint statement in protest, calling the move a clear challenge to freedom of the press stipulated in the Constitution.
In the statement, the groups said that it is an unprecedented "suppression of the press and an act of violence" for the presidential office to ban a certain broadcaster's journalists from access to the presidential jet and covering the presidential tour citing the broadcaster's criticism of the president and the government.
The groups asked President Yoon to immediately withdraw the "unconstitutional and unhistorical" move and to apologize to the people of Korea.