President Yoon Suk Yeol’s Press Secretary Gets Into A Heated Confrontation With An MBC Reporter

The latest confrontation follows a series of clashes between MBC and the President.

Korean President, Yoon Suk Yeol‘s Press Secretary, got into a heated confrontation with an MBC reporter on November 18.

President Yoon Suk Yeol | Hankook ilbo

According to a Yonhap News report, President Yoon Suk Yeol spoke with reporters on his way to his Presidential Office, where he deflected his critics’ assertions that his decision to ban an MBC reporter from boarding the presidential jet violated the freedom of the press.

You can criticize me freely. I am open to criticism from the press and citizens. (The decision to ban the MBC reporter) was a measure in part to uphold the constitution.

— President Yoon Suk Yeol

The President then doubled down on his claim that MBC’s reporting of the President’s alleged blunder, in which he allegedly uses choice language when referring to American lawmakers, was false news and directly threatened the security of the country.

As much as freedom of the press is important, so is the accountability of the press when considering its role as one of democracy’s pillars. It becomes more so when it involves the security of the country’s citizens. (MBC) maliciously tried to undermine an alliance key to the security of our country by spreading false news.

— President Yoon Suk Yeol

An MBC reporter who was at the briefing then asked, “What did MBC do that was malicious?” At which point, according to a Hankyoreh report, the President’s Press Secretary, Lee Ki Jeong, stepped in and chastised the reporter.

It is rude to speak to the President in that manner when he is leaving.

— Lee Ki Jeong, Presidential Press Secretary

The MBC reporter then appealed the Press Secretary’s remarks asking, “Can’t I even ask a question?” The confrontation soon became heated when the Press Secretary replied, “It ended after (the President) spoke,” without using honorifics, to which the reporter objected.

Lee Ki Jeong (left) and MBC reporter (right) | Huffington Post Korea

According to the news report, the two would then engage in a near shouting match that would last nearly two minutes.

The latest confrontation follows a series of clashes between MBC and the President’s office. Recently, the President had been criticized for banning MBC reporters from boarding the presidential jet as part of his official trip to South East Asia.

Source: YNA and wikitree