presidential office-press

SEOUL, April 4 (Yonhap) -- The office of President Park Geun-hye has been repeatedly asking reporters to refrain from doing stories based on anonymous sources, saying such articles could mislead the public and send wrong signals amid heightened tensions with North Korea.

Officials said the government wants to speak with "one voice," especially on security issues. But the request raised concern that it could lead to a weakening of press reporting as reporters have used anonymity to protect sources discussing sensitive issues.

"There have been many unconfirmed articles citing high-level Cheong Wa Dae officials," presidential spokeswoman Kim Haing said Wednesday while reading a prepared "letter" to reporters. "We quite often see stories quoting Cheong Wa Dae officials, which we have never discussed or are even apart from the president's thoughts."

Such stories are "undesirable" as they damage the credibility of not only the top office but also press firms as well, she said.

"In most cases, these kinds of stories are not true," she said. "Cheong Wa Dae does not state its position through (anonymous) officials. We make it clear that articles without names have nothing to do with Cheong Wa Dae, and therefore we cannot take any responsibility."

On Thursday, Kim visited the Cheong Wa Dae press room and made a similar appeal again, saying President Park has always been cautious when making remarks on foreign affairs and security issues over concern that such comments could confuse the people.

"Unless the window to the press is unified, it could cause confusion," Kim said.

She said the unification ministry is the government's window to the press on the issue of Pyongyang's ban on South Korean workers from entering the joint industrial complex in the border city of Kaesong.

"This is not that we are trying to restrict your reporting activity," Kim said, stressing again that reckless reporting could be confusing to the public.

Kim asked reporters to contact her for information when it is difficult to get hold of related officials, saying she will find out necessary information on behalf of reporters.

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