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[Editorial] Newspaper Law Pressure

Posted April. 06, 2006 03:05,   


A public discussion on Dong-A Ilbo’s and Chosun Ilbo’s constitutional petition on the constitutionality of the “Law Regarding the Guarantee of Newspapers’ Freedom and Function” and the “Law Regarding Press Arbitration and Relief from Damages” will be held today.

The Constitutional Court’s allowance of a public discussion shows the importance of this case. The court is seeking to hear in-depth arguments from the involved parties.

This discussion should not be abused to undermine the fairness of the Constitutional Court’s verdict or to pressure the court, however. The fact that the Uri Party, which is responsible for the law, has decided to submit a written statement right before the public discussion is disturbing.

By collecting signatures not only from the lawmakers of the Uri Party, but also from both the Millennium Democratic Party and Democratic Labor Party, it is clear that the ruling party wants to exercise political influence on the decision of the Constitutional Court on its Newspaper and Press Arbitration laws, and that it is trying push the law through.

Documents from an Uri Party internal meeting reveal the filing of a constitutional petition on the constitutionality of Newspaper and Press Arbitration law is seen as “Filing constitutional petitions every single time neutralizes the National Assembly, which is the representative of the people.” This in itself shows the ruling party’s shallow perspective on the reason of the Constitutional Court’s existence and constitutional government. The Constitutional Court is a constitutional institution which could abolish or modify a law for the country and its people when the National Assembly passes a bad law. To say this democratic and rational process ‘neutralizes the National Assembly’ shows its erroneous thinking that it believes the National Assembly should be on top of all systems.

Some organizations that have similar “code” with the current administration oppose the public discussion itself and are systematically pressuring the Constitutional Court with the ruling party. This public discussion is not to be used as a target for a political power game. Especially as the ruling party is responsible for the making of this bad law, it should furthermore be prudent. The pressure on the Constitutional Court must immediately stop so that rational debate could proceed in the public discussion.