South Korea's president defends media reforms

South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun defended on Sunday his decision to shut down exclusive press clubs run by government ministries for mainstream news organizations, saying they restrict the open flow of information and media competition. Roh also accused the country's leading media organizations of not accurately reporting his media reform plans and other government policies, saying they were unfairly criticizing the government without including its views. "The government is a victim," Roh said in a 90-minute nationally televised meeting with representatives of five journalist associations. The meeting came amid a strong backlash from mainstream news organizations over Roh's plan to close the "kija-dan" or "press clubs" at many government ministries where reporters work and receive exclusive briefings from officials.