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.