The ruling People Power Party, doing little to hide its hostility toward local broadcaster MBC which reported President Yoon Suk-yeol’s profanity-laced hot-mic incident, has called out one of its reporters as being “rude” to wear slippers during a question-and-answer session with the president.
“Freedom of the press must be respected, but reporters should think about the responsibility of the media and the basic courtesy required for human beings,” said Kim Jong-hyuk, a member of the PPP’s emergency leadership, in his Facebook post on Saturday.
“A reporter shouldn't be like a gangster,” he added.
In the picture shared by Kim, the MBC reporter in question stands among a pack of reporters as Yoon takes questions from them at the lobby of the presidential office, on his way to the office in the morning on Friday. The reporter, dressed in a suit, is seen wearing slippers, standing with his arms crossed.
The Q&A session was Yoon’s first since returning from the Nov.11-16 trip to Southeast Asia during which his office did not allow MBC reporters on a presidential jet.
During Friday’s in-office interview, the president was asked to speak on the matter and he said the decision was to “protect Constitution” because the media outlet “showed very malicious behavior.”
As Yoon walked away to end the interview, the MBC reporter shouted, "what did MBC do that was malicious?" Yoon did not answer it.
After the president left, a presidential press secretary took issue with the reporter’s “rude manners” and the two exchanged barbs, which was caught on TV cameras.
Hours after the incident, Yoon’s office released a statement detailing what it said was the “10 incidents in which MBC has acted maliciously.” On Sunday, the presidential office said it is taking the altercation between the reporter and its staff “seriously.”
Tension between the presidential office and MBC ensued after the broadcaster caught Yoon's use of profanity on camera at an event in New York in September, which the broadcaster subtitled to make it appear that he had used vulgar language to refer to US Congress.
The presidential office later said the profanity was directed towards Korean lawmakers.