Go to contents

[Editorial] Cheong Wa Da’s Appointment Mocks the Nation

[Editorial] Cheong Wa Da’s Appointment Mocks the Nation

Posted August. 22, 2004 22:07,   


The former presidential secretary for public information, who had resigned because of his involvement in a controversial sexual parody mocking opposition Grand National Party Chairwoman Park Geun-hye, was appointed within a month as presidential secretary for local press. This suggests that President Roh Moo-hyun has gone insane. Now that Roh has appointed a person who stirred up the public’s anger and caused an international embarrassment by sexually humiliating the head of the leading opposition party, public opinion and the position of the opposition party seem out of his consideration.

Even the past authoritarian regimes targeted by the Roh government’s “collective learning of history” were not this blatant. Despite the harsh rule imposed by dictators at that time, they at least pretended to concern themselves with the people’s opinion, by correcting wrongdoings and accepting responsibility. They were not as obstinate as the current government, which retracts its apology just one month after issuing it. How can it call itself participatory government and stress the liquidation of the past?

Roh’s preferential hiring of those who support him, so-called “code awareness,” is sparking a more serious problem. For example, Roh appointed as presidential secretary for political planning an official who rejected people’s criticism of the capital relocation by saying, “Get rid of cursed performance.” He unofficially hired a key member of Nosamo--literally, a group that loves Roh Moo-hyun--as a chief of the “Cheong Wa Dae briefing.” We are anxious about how they report public opinion while ruling out others’ different opinions to the president every day. This might bring about a distortion of the press.

President Roh said, “Because residents in the Gangnam area are only concerned with their interests, we cannot come up with proper policies for balanced development,” which is also ridiculous. Even though he stressed the necessity of balanced development, he sounds as if he’s saying, “Residents in the Gangnam area are not on my side, so they do not support the capital relocation.”

Unless Roh intends to divide Seoul into Gangnam and non-Gangnam, followed by divisions between Yeongnam and Honam, and between the Seoul area and non-Seoul area, Roh should refrain from such comment. If Roh continues with this attitude, the criticism that he so vigorously objects to in the mainstream press and political power will continue unabated.

Lee Jae-ho leejaeho@donga.com