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Media judged to have defamed Kim Young-Hoon

Posted August. 23, 2000 20:39,   


On August 23, related to the death of First Lieutenant Kim Hoon, the 25th Department of Civil Affairs Agreement (Judge Ahn Young-Ryul, superintendent judge), Seoul District Court, said that Kim Young-Hoon (age 29) was wrongly accused of murder and defamed. It ruled in favor of the plaintiff, ordering that based on the demands made by Kim and his family in their lawsuit against 3 media outlets and their editors-in-chief, compensation of 87.5 million won from SBS, 50 million won from Kyunghyang Shinmun, and 37.5 million won from Dong-A Ilbo must be paid.

The court stated that the wrongfulness of damaging Kim`s honor was recognized because, in a case that all final investigation results showed was a suicide, not only did the media expand on the details of the investigation announcement by the authorities, make reports based on conjectures and cause people to believe that Kim is a murderer, but it also published photographs of him and his real name.

Kim had been indicted on charges of accepting money and goods from North Korean soldiers without reporting to his superiors when he worked as a second platoon leader in the Joint Security Area (JSA) at Panmunjeom from July until December 1997. Although he was sentenced to 2 years of imprisonment and was given a suspended sentence of 3 years, he was not indicted as no charges were laid in regard to the death of Lt. Kim Hoon.

Kim filed a lawsuit against the media outlets on April 1999, saying that despite the fact that Lt. Kim`s death had been ruled a suicide based on the results of several investigations, the media falsely reported that frustrations between him and the late Lt. Kim regarding the right to command the platoon became a motive for his murdering Lt. Kim.