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Foreign news journalists express 'grave concern' over ruling party's criticism of Bloomberg reporter

11:49 March 17, 2019

SEOUL, March 17 (Yonhap) -- An association of foreign news media reporters based in Seoul has expressed "grave concern" after the ruling Democratic Party criticized a Bloomberg News reporter over a story portraying President Moon Jae-in as "top spokesman" of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.

The article, published in September last year, drew fresh attention last week after Rep. Na Kyung-won, floor leader of the main opposition Liberty Korea Party, cited it in her National Assembly speech blasting Moon's policy on Pyongyang.

The ruling Democratic Party issued a statement berating Na, but it also criticized the Bloomberg reporter by name, accusing her of writing a treacherous story, as a South Korean citizen, that insulted the head of state.

The Seoul Foreign Correspondents' Club issued a statement expressing "grave concern over the ruling Democratic party's statement singling out a Bloomberg reporter," saying it "resulted in serious threats to her personal safety."

"It is disturbing for any politician to accuse any journalist of treason -- a criminal offence -- for reporting on matters of public interest or voicing an opinion. This is a form of censorship and journalistically chilling," the statement said.

"Questions or complaints regarding an article should be raised with the publication in question rather than personally and publicly targeting a reporter," it said.

Founded in 1956, the club as about 500 journalists from 100 news outlets as members.

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