PSPD, submitted a written statement on infringement cases
on freedom of opinion and expression of the ROK
to the UNHRC asking special interest
On Feb.14, 2011, the Public Interest Law Center(Head: Prof.Park Kyeong-shin, Korea Univ.) in People’s Solidarity of Participatory Democracy (PSPD) submitted a written statement to the 16th session of the UN Human Rights Council held on forthcoming Feb 28 through March 5. PSPD with a special consultative status with ECOSOC(Economic and Social Council) has submitted opinions and written statements on human rights situations. This statement states that freedom of opinion and expression in the Republic of Korea(ROK) was intimidated under the Lee Myung-bak administration.
PSPD presents the infringement cases on freedom of opinion and expression. First, suppression of critical opinions against government policies by abusing ‘defamation lawsuits’. Second, the Korea Communications Standards Commission’s decision(Jan.5,2011) to take a disciplinary action on a documentary titled “A Mysterious Cheonan Warship, Has the Debate Been Finished?” produced by ‘In-Depth 60 Minutes’ of Korea Broadcasting System[KBS] . Third, the Prosecutor’s Office’s investigation of PSPD as to the violation of the National Security Law for the letter sent to the members of the UN Security Council by PSPD that called upon them to cautiously deliberate the Cheonan incident. Fourth, the accusation of university lecturer, Mr. Park and Mr. Choi for drawing rat graffiti on large G20 public posters, Fifth, the prosecution’s confiscation of candidate for the superintendent of education of Seoul(2008), Prof. Kyeong-bok Ju’s seven-year -emails without prior notice. Sixth, illegal surveillance on civilians by the Public Ethics Office of the Prime Minister's Office. Seventh, the accusation of civil organizations for political expressions by over key election issues and policies while conducting campaigns ‘for the free school meals plan’ and ‘against the four-rivers revampment project' during the local election(2010), etc.
PSPD emphasizes seven points to promote the right to freedom of opinion and expression in Korea. First of all, state agencies must be prevented from filing reckless litigations with intent to block criticism on government policies and high-ranking government officials. Secondly, a criminal charge for contempt must be abolished since it has been misused to punish those raising criticism over public issues. Thirdly, administrative agencies must not censor the Internet postings; the authority is only held by the judiciary branch. Fourth, Clause 3 of Article 83 of the Telecommunication Business Act which enables public agencies to conduct unlawful surveillance on civilians and acquire private information must be discarded. Fifth, Clause 2(Temporary Measures) and Clause 7(Deliberation on Illegal Information) of Article 44 of the Act on the Promotion of Information and Telecommunication Network Use and Information Protection, which provide the legal grounds of censoring by the Korea Communications Standards Commission, must be revoked. Sixth, the regulations on the prohibition of premature electioneering prescribed in Clause 1 of Article 93 of the Public Official Election Act, which significantly restricts election participation and political expression by constituents, must be revoked as well. Lastly, unequal distribution of state resources due to the reason of objection to government policies must be prohibited.