I don’t relish defending Roh Hoe-chan

and I’m guessing he’d take issue with somebody publishing on the Web illegally obtained conversations of progressive figures, but this should disturb you (HT to keyinjpop):

A South Korean politician who sought to expose corruption within Samsung’s ranks has lost his seat in parliament. The Supreme Court upheld that by publishing transcripts of wiretapped conversations online, Roh Hoe-chan broke communications laws; the conviction means he cannot remain a lawmaker, and he has received a suspended prison sentence. In explaining its decision, the court said “Unlike distributing press releases to journalists, uploading messages on the Internet allows an easy access to anybody at any time.” It added that the media publishes select information “with responsibility” rather than providing the public with “unfiltered access” to what it knows.

The Hankyoreh, needless to say, leaped to Roh’s defense:

It goes against any sense of the law or justice to punish Roh – as well as the journalists who disclosed the information – while ignoring the Samsung employees and prosecutors implicated in the bribery. Two sides came together to produce this comical verdict: biased prosecutors who claimed that the evidence was tainted by the illegal means by which it was obtained, and a court that insisted on only the narrowest interpretation of the law. It is distressing to see the court’s third division going ahead with the ruling despite a request by 159 lawmakers from all party affiliations asking it to postpone the decision.

Hey, I agree, but still, I do wonder whether the Hani would be calling for punishments of progressive types based on evidence obtained through illegal wiretaps.

  • http://twitter.com/ZenKimchi ZenKimchi

    “It added that the media publishes select information ‘with responsibility'” — Thanks for the chuckle, Robert.

  • http://www.rjkoehler.com Robert Koehler

    Yeah, there’s that aspect, too.

  • http://twitter.com/ZenKimchi ZenKimchi

    And the selection–filtering–is done with the chaebol advertisers looking over the media outlets’ shoulders. With that reality, posting online sounds like the more responsible thing to do.

  • Anonymous_Joe

    So Korean courts protect arson at the Yasukuni Shrine as political speech (http://www.rjkoehler.com/2013/01/04/this-wont-help-korea-japan-relations):

    “We cannot approve the extradition of Liu to Japan because his crime was a political crime,” the court said in a statement yesterday. “In other words, Liu committed a crime with the aim to protest against [Japan’s] political order. And in a case where a political criminal makes an escape to another country [Korea], the criminal can be protected.”

    …but do not protect political speech as speech.

    Of course, I am arguing by analogy, so I wonder what could be the difference. I wonder, wonder, wonder, wonder…..

  • Dokdoforever

    Does Korea have single party consent when in comes to recording a conversation? Or must all parties give their consent to record a conversation? Anyone hear of this as an issue in Korea?

  • keyinjpop

    Thanks for the hat tip. Pretty sad how a government can do this without opposition or remorse.

  • http://kuiwon.wordpress.com/ Kuiwon

    “Hey, I agree, but still, I do wonder whether the Hani would be calling for punishments of progressive types based on evidence obtained through illegal wiretaps.”

    I think this tangentially supports the point I made a week or so ago concerning the NIS agent investigation and liberals. I had argued: liberals, if given the opportunity, would have spied on conservative politicians to affect the outcome of the election.

  • que337

    It is sad SK politics and journalism are in corruption. I could find solace only in that SK is not very “innovative” on this matter:

    “Japan’s ubiquitous press clubs are, in fact, notorious for sitting on scandals and protecting their news sources. Nowhere else is this practice of self-censorship so pervasive.”

    “When the Recruit scandal rocked the highest levels of Japanese politics in the late-1980s, the handful of Asahi Shimbun reporters at Asahi’s Kawasaki bureau who broke the story were shunned at the annual Japan Newspaper Publishers and Editors awards, the Japanese equivalent of the Pulitzer Prize. They bucked established protocol — which insists that all major political scoops have to be covered by the head office — to get their story out. But because established protocol suits the establishment, which does not favor disclosure and transparency, let alone journalistic scoops at their expense, Japanese dilies shun scoops, the Holy Grail of the Western press.”

    “The major flaws of the Japanese press, therefore, are: an astonishing lack of editorial ethics and journalist procedures; endemic abuse of the civil liberties of ordinary citizens; the dearth of media accountability and schemes to ensure proper redress; persistent strains of historical revisionism, especially in the tabloids; state manipulation of the news media through the press club system; and the chronic failure to function as a proper watchdog on Japan’s leaders.”

    Source: Dr. Declan Hayes, The Japanese Disease: Sex and Sleaze in Modern Japan

  • Anonymous_Joe

    Yes, Q, everyday I count my blessings that I am not in North Korea, Somalia, or some other country that has has the problems on steroids that Korea has on steroids.

  • que337

    Why would you bother to be in NK, Somalia, or even in SK for the problem?