Labor disputes at the Hankook Ilbo, a Korean-language newspaper, escalated over the weekend after its management expelled defiant reporters and closed the newsroom.
The two sides have been at odds for months over allegedly unfair appointment and personal corruption by chairman Chang Jae-ku.
On Saturday, the management evicted two journalists from its newsroom mobilizing 15 contract security guards and closed down the office, according to the labor union.
The firm demanded that reporters sign a document in which they pledge to work under a managing editor and observe the company rules, according to the union.
When they refused to sign it, the security guards pushed the reporters out of the newsroom. Their access to the computer system was also blocked and their IDs were deleted, it said.
The union held a rally Sunday at the company’s headquarters in Seoul. They warned of legal action, claiming the management damaged freedom of speech and breached journalists’ rights.
The labor union filed a lawsuit against Chang in April alleging that he misappropriated 20 billion won ($17.7 million) from company fund to write off his personal debt.
The newspaper fired managing editor Lee Young-sung and other staff in May and June.
By Kim Young-won (firstname.lastname@example.org