[Press Release] Ryu Hee-rim must be the subject of an investigation, not the whistle-blowing employees of the KCSC

by | Jan 18, 2024 | Free Speech, Notice, Open Seminar | 0 comments

Today, we stand in front of the Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency, which conducted a search and seizure for the sole purpose of ensuring the safety of the Yoon Suk-yeol administration. On January 15th, the Korea Communications Standards Commission(hereinafter KCSC) experienced an unprecedented search and seizure by the police since its establishment.

Behind the search and seizure operation at the Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency, there is the prosecution, and behind the prosecution, there is Chairman Ryu Hee-rim of the KCSC. Who is behind Chairman Ryu Hee-rim, who reported the KCSC, of which she is the chairman? The KCSC, which declared a crackdown on fake news using Kim Man-bae’s recorded conversation report as an excuse, has turned into a presidential guard unit for President Yoon Suk-yeol.

Yesterday’s (1/15) search and seizure was an abuse of judicial and investigative power. Related laws such as the Public Interest Whistleblower Protection Act impose an obligation on public officials who become aware of acts detrimental to the public interest or corrupt acts to report them. Furthermore, even if there are other laws, the obligation to maintain confidentiality in the performance of duties does not apply to the reporting public official.

Therefore, there is no doubt that the legal basis for yesterday’s search and seizure was inadequate. The whistleblower report by a public official of the KCSC to report suspicions about Chairman Ryu Hee-rim’s misconduct is a lawful act under criminal law and is difficult to be considered a violation of the Personal Information Protection Act. Nevertheless, the court that issued the search warrant and the police who executed it abused their power.

We issue a warning to Chairman Ryu Hee-rim, who is at the center of all these events. Has there ever been a chairman who faced such resistance from internal employees since the establishment of the Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission in 2008? Has there ever been a chairman who denounced internal employees for 16 years and shook the status of an independent reviewing body? Has there ever been a chairman in the past four terms who directly influenced the review and complaints regarding presidential coverage?

Today, we will start a press conference, and together with all media workers who seek to protect press freedom and all citizens who strive to protect the freedom of expression against national censorship, we will oppose the Yoon Suk-yeol administration. Chairman Ryu Hee-rim should remember the words of former Chairman Lee Dong-gwan of the Korea Communications Commission. There have been numerous disqualifications, such as Censorship of internet media that abused their power, unreasonable decisions to dismiss a member of the KCSC and a chairperson who accused the KCSC of which he was the chief executive. If you do not want to endure any further humiliation, resign immediately.

January 1, 2024
Joint Action Preparatory Committee to Resist Media Control
Open Net Korea
Media Reform
Human Rights Network Baram
Jinbo Network Center
People’s Solidarity for Participatory Democracy

Korean text available here


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