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[Editorial] The Neverending Sea Story

Posted August. 23, 2006 03:23,   


The Korea Media Rating Board (KMRB), which gave “Bada Iyagi” (Sea Story) a passing mark, and the Ministry of Culture and Tourism (MOCT), its supervisory agency, are blaming each other over responsibilities. However, it is difficult to tell which party is telling a lie since their arguments are completely different.

“I requested reviews five times to the KMRB on gambling games between February and May 2004,” Chung Dong-chae, former minister of culture and tourism, said on Sunday. “The prime minister and ministers, as well as prosecutors, were all aware of problems of video slot machines,” he added.

However, Kim soo-yong, chairman of the KMRB at the time, said that officials of the MOCT came to the KMRB and repeatedly asked to ease the review criteria.

“The officials said those in related businesses are about to starve to death because of the KMRB’s hard review,” Kim said.

Chairman Kim’s remark is, however, starkly opposite to Kim’s claim.

Meanwhile, Kim Myung-gon, incumbent minister of culture and tourism, said, “Although it is true that the MOCT sent official documents five times to the KMRB for the three months, it happened before Bada Iyagi was classified.”

If minister Kim’s claim is correct, questions over the reason why the MOCT, which sent official documents five times, kept silent on the Bada Iyagi issue are inevitable.

Although related officials are claiming differently over the review of the KMRB, disclosing shady dealings will be a matter of time if a thorough investigation is conducted on the review process.

Officials of the KMRB also testify that the KMRB was exposed to all sorts of lobbying during the review process of the adult gambling games.

“The KMRB was inundated with inquires and requests from politicians who demanded particular companies to be designated as gift certificate-issuing companies. Officials of both ruling and opposition parties solicited favors,” a former senior official of the MOCT disclosed during questioning by the prosecution.

Appointment of underqualified companies as gift certificate issuers are also backing up the suspicions of irregularities and illegal lobbying.

Attempts to define the Bada Iyagi case as a mere failure of government policy will not succeed. If you study the remarks of involved officials collectively, you can sense involvement of shady political figures behind the “the republic of gambling.” Although it seems to be very complicated to discover who were behind the scene, finding out the truth is solemn duty of the Board of Audit and Inspection and the prosecution.