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Government to Subsidize Officials for Lawsuits against Media

Government to Subsidize Officials for Lawsuits against Media

Posted September. 03, 2005 08:34,   


The government is seeking strong countermeasures against false media reports at the direction of President Roh Moo-hyun, an opposition lawmaker claimed on Friday.

Rep. Kim Jae-gyeong, a member of the Parliamentary Legislation and Judiciary Committee, cited a report titled, “Legal Countermeasures Against False Media Reports in Order to Enhance Trust in Government Policies,” to buttress his claims. According to Kim, the Justice Ministry prepared the report last April on the president’s orders.

The content of the report includes the establishment of a “government law firm” next April to support public officials in civil and criminal litigation procedures against media and journalists, and payment for part of the lawsuit costs by the government. It also contains measures to give compensation to civil servants for their psychological and financial sufferings in the lawsuit process.

The report also states that establishing a government law firm is the best way to provide support for civil servants in legal procedure, as there is a weak legal basis for the job being done by the Justice Ministry and Korea Legal Aid Corporation.

“The report was sent to the office of the presidential secretary on July 21 as an interim review measure,” a ministry official said. “The Justice Ministry is currently serving as a kind of defense counsel for the rest of the government agencies. We prepared these methods to give more systematic help to them in dealing with false press reports.”

Kim argued that government compensation for psychological damage by officials who file a lawsuit against the media is as good as encouraging litigation, saying, “Cheong Wa Dae is preparing itself to wage a war against false media reports.”

Jung-Eun Lee Tae-Hoon Lee lightee@donga.com jefflee@donga.com