Int'l Press Body Urges Korea to Stop Spying on Journalists

  • By Shin Dong-heun

    January 28, 2022 12:40

    The International Press Institute has urged Korea to investigate a new anti-corruption agency for accessing the phone records of more than 120 Korean and foreign journalists. "Such mass data collection... compromises press freedom and risks the anonymity of journalists' sources," the IPI warned in a statement Tuesday.

    "Some journalists suspect their phone records were accessed [by the Corruption Investigation Office for High-Ranking Officials] in an attempt to discover their sources," it added. "A full investigation must be carried out into how and why this data collection was approved and carried out."

    IPI Deputy Director Scott Griffen said, "Such actions clearly undermine the right of journalists to protect the identities of their sources." He called on the CIO to "cease its apparently indiscriminate collection of journalists' phone records, which is a violation of democratic norms."

    "At least 120 journalists from 22 different media organizations, including several foreign media outlets, have had their phone data accessed" by the CIO, IPI said. "Current [Korean] law allows the CIO to access phone records without notifying the person in question. The number of journalists targeted is therefore most likely higher than is officially known."

    The IPI, a global network of editors, journalists and media executives from 120 countries, has worked to protect freedom of the press since it was launched in 1950.

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