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What is X-File on Earth?

Posted July. 20, 2005 03:14,   


X File, Where Does It Come From?-

Reporter Lee Sang-ho said, “I cannot reveal the informants since people can easily notice their identities.” But another official from MBC mentioned, “The data was something that a national intelligence agency eavesdropped illegally.” Mr. Lee reportedly visited the U.S four times in order to get the tape.

X File, What Does it Include? –

When we heard all the stories of the MBC officials who listened to the tape and read the written records, it is believed that the materials include the discourses between a high-raking official of a big corporation and the president of a newspaper company right before the 1997 presidential election at a famous Japanese restaurant at a hotel. They talked about their opinions about the then presidential candidates and the distribution problem of slush fund for lobbying. The two people discussed the issue of providing billions of won to a promising candidate while giving more money for another likely candidate.

A figure from MBC also revealed, “The tape also described that the big company regularly gave money to former and incumbent senior officials of the then prosecution in order to maintain a smooth relationship.” MBC already verified that the voices of the tape are identical to those of alleged informants through the analysis of the voices, which was commissioned in order to figure out whether the tape was manipulated or not.

MBC Does Not Permit Broadcasting of this Case-

MBC admits the explosive impact of the tape’s contents, but it decided not to broadcast them due to the illegitimate ways of obtaining them. The broadcast company’s concerns about the circumstances of making the materials and the ways in which it obtained the tape are independent of the contents of the tape. For example, the tape was recorded without the approval of the people, and it is uncertain who tapped in the conversation.

An MBC employee also said, “We learned that MBC violates ‘the communications secret protection law’ when it publicizes the tape after seeking advice from the MBC consultative lawyer, current judges and prosecutors,” and added, “We also heard from experts that the company also can be punished for aggravated charges if it reports the contents while knowing that the tape was obtained illegally.”

Another MBC employee also mentioned, “It would be hard for MBC to broadcast the material unless there are ways to avoid legal problems such as testifying by the people who participated in the eavesdropping,” and continued, “MBC has delayed the broadcasting of the contents on the surface, but it would not change its stance in which it would not allow the publication of the materials, unless there is a radical change in the situation.”

Reporter Lee said, “I already finished collecting additional material to cover, but I am not in a position in which I can mention about the possibility of the broadcasting,” and added, “I asked the figures who appeared in the tape about making their excuses, but there haven’t been any responses.”

MBC’s Inside Controversy-

Reporters of MBC rallying around the Committee for Practicing Democratic Broadcasting claimed to have published the materials in early June when the presence of the “X File” was first known. But they have changed their attitudes toward favoring the company’s stance without making much comment. Reporters tried to hold a general meeting to deal with the issue early this month but canceled it.

A senior officer from the labor union said, “The materials are worth revealing since they show the close connections between the political circles, businesses, and the media. But we could not tell our stance since the data gathering is under process.”

On the other hand, some people might raise a question as to whether the company’s current stance is only related to legal issue. An official from MBC mentioned, “For MBC’s part, it would be hard to ignore the fact that the politician who appeared in the tape is a member of the current administration, and that the conglomerate in question is one of the major advertisers at a time when the TV advertising market is suffering.”

X File, Will It Go Underwater?-

Some people in MBC argue, “We rather give the tape to the prosecution for investigation or to the committee for verifying mysteries in the past to reveal the truth.” Under the circumstances in which the main contents of the tape were already revealed, there is some speculation that other media companies are planning relevant programs with their own investigative data collection. However, all the media companies are denying the allegation.

Meanwhile, it would be hard to punish the people concerned even if the tape is publicized. Legal experts say that it is hard to apply relevant laws such as the political fund law, under which violation of the law is non-enforceable three years after committing a crime. At the same time, it is hard to consider this case as receiving bribes, extinct 10 years after the violation.

Nevertheless, media companies, businesses, and the political circles will find it hard to avoid criticism in an ethical aspect from the public when the materials are revealed, since the materials will show the undesirable close ties between some media, businesses, and political circles.

Jung-Bo Suh suhchoi@donga.com