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Sankei’s Seoul bureau chief faces charge of libeling Park

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It seems very much that South Korea is not a democratic country and there is no freedom of expression there. South Korea's government is probably as much same as China.

10 ( +12 / -2 )

I am baffled. Could somebody tell me what draws the line between "freedom of speech/press" and "criminal libel?"

If articles such as this one in question is enough to start an inquisition based on 'online hatred', then what about tabloids? Surely tabloids have said much worse things about the president.

This was a very careless move, and could be a political disaster. The scariest thing about this is not the part about Korean police force questioning the Japanese newspaper. It is the fact that when the target is Japanese, whom many Koreans dislike (with excessive ardour), they seem alarmingly willing to forgive Park's government for tramping on freedom of the press.

9 ( +9 / -0 )

Of course it's without merit but it's politically useful for the Park administration to spin the column as just another Japanese right wing attack on South Korea.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Media freedom group Reporters Without Borders has defended the Sankei, arguing the subject of the paper’s column was “clearly” in the public interest.

Hmmm. Maybe because it's Japanese ? They need to treat their critical journalism, libel?

4 ( +6 / -2 )

How about total press freedoms here in Japan too?!

It seems that Japanese police would not question/interrogate someone easily even if press media defamed/libeled the prime minister a lot about some kinda big scandals, because there are simply freedom of expression and press. Park went to foreign countries for diplomacy everytime and always slandered Japan's things on the diplomatic table there before main talks.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

but the item in question was published in Korea, was only translated by Sankei shinbun but Park went to sue the translator rather than the source...and Korea is prosecuting the case. No sense at all.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

A daughter her father could be proud of. Next we will start reading about university students being shot. JAPAN TODAY - is there any chance of you contacting SANKEI and asking them for an English translation of the smoking gun? I am sure your readership would be most interested to find out what Madame Dictator, sorry President, is so worried about.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

@Pukey2

hmm... you seem not to be very versed in the different type of news papers and magazines here in Japan then....

3 ( +3 / -0 )

@sugar: I am baffled. Could somebody tell me what draws the line between "freedom of speech/press" and "criminal libel?"

Different countries have different standards. In some countries (England), the purported libeler has to prove lack of libel. In other countries (the U.S.A.), the purported libelee has to prove libel. In most countries, the standard for libel is higher for public figures.

Generally...

If it's true, it's not libel: "Park is the daughter of a dictator." Not libel.

If it's false but obviously unbelievable, it's not libel: "Park is a member of the alien reptile illuminati." Not libel.

If it's an opinion, it's generally not libel. "Park is a terrible president." Not libel.

@turbostat: Reporters without Borders ranks South Korea at 50 on their 2013 Press Freedom Rankings and Japan at 53, maybe this year it'll be reversed.

Freedom House has them the other way round, with Japan and Taiwan being the only Asian countries in the "Free" category, along with Europe, Canada, Australia, etc.

http://freedomhouse.org/report-types/freedom-press?gclid=CLf-vuj01cACFYUJvAodHVAAeg#.VA_hL8KSwmN

3 ( +3 / -0 )

I think this is much to do about nothing. For sure its about politics by the Koreans.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

SamuraiBlue and Toshiko:

So? I'm saying Park CAN file a civil claim against Sankei. I don't care for the Criminal Libel Suit which makes no sense. My comments are not of what the Korean gov't should do but what is the most legitimate action Park can take.

As I said, this is a CIVIL CASE. Meaning its NOT a criminal case. I don't care for the criminal element because that would get thrown out of the court under any reasonable circumstance.

Again, PAY ATTENTION TO MY WORDS. I don't have to comment on the criminal element. I'm commenting on what Park SHOULD do under the code of law.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Toshiko:

@highball7: My comment was based on current legal action. Not from paranoia ignorant mind. You did not write Park can file in any of your comments.

highball7SEP. 10, 2014 - 11:52AM JST She's a public figure, and the newspaper is for profit public media. If the intent of the media is to slander her without just cause or without doing its due-diligence, or there is malicious intent by the Sankei bureau chief on publishing false information against Park, then Park can absolutely file a libel suit against Sankei. This type of tort law is very common. See NY Times v. Sullivan for reference.

I did not write what? What do you think a libel suit is? Or tort law for that matter? Ignorant much?

SamuraiBlueSEP. 11, 2014 - 10:38PM JST highball7

IF you understand the law, whichever department of justice in Korea can file civil case against a corporate entity or a private person. Just because its the prosecutors from the state, it doesn't necessarily mean its a criminal case . Learn the difference between the two.

Your words not mine.

I think it's you who needs to re-study THE LAW.

What's wrong with what I wrote? Did they file criminal charges against Sankei? All its being said is investigation, when did they file criminal charges? WHEN they filed charges, then it would be a criminal case and the result will be most likely argued by Sankei as malicious prosecution.

Clearly, you need to understand the difference between investigation and OFFICIALLY CHARGED. As far as I know, those prosecutors can INVESTIGATE all they want and this still won't be a criminal libel suit because there is no such thing as a criminal libel suit. Libel suits are CIVIL suits. And since prosecutors does not have the authority to prosecute CIVIL SUITS against private individuals or PUBLIC FIGURE. There is no standing by the prosecutors in regards to this case.

Therefore, as I said, Park can only file a CIVIL SUIT against Sankei as a Public Figure. She can't even file as just a private person since she has the power to influence the media and she is the most prominent public figure.

I think my understand of THE LAW is just fine. You on the other hand need to PAY ATTENTION on the WORDS, LANGUAGE, TERMS, and CONTEXT being used.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

highball7

You are comparing apples with oranges, the original case of NY Times v. Sullivan was a civil case this one is a criminal case in which the authorities are trying to prosecute a person with criminal laws and even then the NY Times won the case 9-0 against Sullivan.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

The article is/was online so maybe this is the route they are taking. Has been applied to middle school students as well.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Defamation#Republic_of_Korea

... "Act on Promotion of Information and Communications Network Utilization and Data Protection, etc." (Internet and email related laws) ...

(if defamation is true) Any person who has defamed any other person by alleging openly facts through information and communications networks [anyone stating true comments by internet and email] with the purpose of slandering him shall be subject to imprisonment with or without prison labor for not more than 3 years or by a fine not exceeding 20 million won

(if defamation is false) Any person who has defamed any other person by alleging openly false facts via information and communications networks [anyone stating false comments on the internet and email] with the purpose of slandering him/her shall be subject to imprisonment with prison labor for not more than 7 years or the suspension of disqualification for not more than 10 years, or by a fine not exceeding 50 million won [approximately US$50,000. In addition to this criminal law, in Korea you can also sue for damages with civil actions. Generally, criminal actions proceed civil ones with Korean police as judicial investigators.].

1 ( +2 / -1 )

highball7

Look at the charges it's "criminal libel" and no civil suit holds a seven-year jail term. Pay attention to the article at hand.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

So what if Korea is pursuing a criminal investigation? That's their law and that's their rights.

I'm saying Park has ABSOLUTE rights on filing a CIVIL CASE against Sankei.

What part of a CIVIL SUIT don't you understand? Park is President of SK and also a CITIZEN of SK. She has every right to BE a plaintiff and file a Libel suit against Sankei.

This is the basic right for every citizen in any civilized world and democratic nation.

This isn't a game between commentators on the board. I am voicing my opinion on this situation and you have no right to put words in my mouth. I have never stated this should be a criminal suit. MY entire premise is Park has a legitimate CIVIL SUIT and she SHOULD pursue a CIVIL SUIT against Sankei.

It is ABSOLUTELY possible for PARK to act as a CITIZEN and a PUBLIC FIGURE to file a CIVIL SUIT against SANKEI.

George Bush did. Bill Clinton did, and Obama was about to while they were all in office as President of United States.

If you don't understand the law or have no legal background, please get some references before comment on my post.

AND FOR THE LAST TIME, PAY ATTENTION TO MY WORDS. I have NEVER said the KOREAN GOV'T should file a criminal suit against Sankei. My entire premise is PARK can file a CIVIL SUIT against Sankei.

Do you understand? Wakarimasu?

1 ( +2 / -1 )

highball7,

I think the issue is the Koreans not respecting the freedom of speech and expression by the media. Its a 1st amendment issue. Koreans need to develop some thick skin. With great power comes great responsibility - Stan Lee.

Yes, you are correct that President Park is a public figure. I see your point where she does have rights to file a civil lawsuit against the media. It is very difficult to prove actual malice and I think President Park is using State Power to investigate on her behalf. The line is murky here as there could be abuse of power.

However, there is no proof of such abuse and there is a case to be made on the actual malice element if her attorneys can prove intent. And based on the evidence of the articles insinuating her whereabouts during the tragic event and the fact that she has a solid alibi against that insinuation. At the very least this is 50/50.

So to your point of Park having the rights to file a Libel suit or Civil suit as you call it,it is highly probable that there is a case to be had. IMHO, just having to file or even investigate gives her political points among her supporters. Winning or losing the case will not matter. She already won if she files a libel suit.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

http://english.donga.com/srv/service.php3?biid=2014081155588

AUGUST 11, 2014 07:17 : Sankei Shimbun’s defamation of Korea goes too far -

In an online story entitled “President Park Geun-hye went missing on the day of Sewol’s sinking… who was she meeting?” published on Sunday last week, the Sankei Shimbun said that Park was meeting with a man in secrecy at the time of the ferry’s tragic sinking, and that the man was Jeong Yoon-hoi, Park’s former aide who recently divorced.

The Japanese daily claimed, “The article was written primarily based on publicized information from discussions at the National Assembly and newspaper reports, to introduce such information,” but reading the article, one can find that the primary source in this article is bulletins circulating in the securities market. The article introduces in details what Park’s Chief of Staff Kim Ki-choon testified at the National Assembly on President Park’s whereabouts on the day of the accident, but it amplified suspicion by cleverly combining information from a column printed in the Chosun Ilbo and a bulletin in the securities market.

Sankei’s publishing of the report without even bothering to check facts over information in the securities market bulletin illustrates inferior editorial quality of the newspaper. ... The Chosun Ilbo’s op-ed piece, which the Japanese daily quoted, was also addressing rumors. ...

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Parks are getting a rough ride in the press. Yesterday 23 of them in Japan were being blamed for the Dengue Fever outbreak!!!!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

If Japan executed the same type of abuse of power like Ms. Park does then the article by Justin McCurry would have placed him behind bars along time ago.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

turbotsat

If that law applies to news agency then there could be no news reporting against a public figure of suspicion of doing wrong no matter how trustworthy the news is. That basically means there is no freedom of press in South Korea.

0 ( +5 / -5 )

SamuraiBlue

Reporters without Borders ranks South Korea at 50 on their 2013 Press Freedom Rankings and Japan at 53, maybe this year it'll be reversed.

Their article says the guy is facing seven year sentence, I guess his defamation is considered "false".

Noted that they also do not want to repeat the most defamatory part of the article (implying an affair).

http://en.rsf.org/press-freedom-index-2013,1054.html (2013 rankings)

http://en.rsf.org/coree-du-sud-seoul-based-japanese-reporter-08-09-2014,46914.html

8 September 2014 - Sankei Shimbun’s correspondent is facing a possible seven-year jail term.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

SamuraiBlue,

I am referring to civil case scenario where Park can file a civil claim against Sankei. That's why I mentioned its a Tort Law. Which by definition, is a civil matter.

Whether the state wish to prosecute is up to the Korean gov't, which is irrelevant to what I was suggesting. No where did I say or support on criminal charges being filed which isn't the case with the prosecutors. IF you understand the law, whichever department of justice in Korea can file civil case against a corporate entity or a private person. Just because its the prosecutors from the state, it doesn't necessarily mean its a criminal case. Learn the difference between the two.

And in no terms did I mention whether she will win or not. I said "she absolutely can file a libel suit against Sankei", which is a civil case. If you pay attention to the language I wrote, it meant she has the rights to file a claim, not win a lawsuit.

Pay attention and do not try to twist my words.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Isn't seven years' imprisonment too long for libel? Mr. Kato, Take good care of yourself if convicted.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

This S. Korean Government action on the Sankei Shimbun and its bureau chief Cato has proved S. Korea is not democratic nation and no media freedom in its country.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

highball7 For instance in Japan, there is libel case in both civil and criminal. I don't know in Korea, but this particular case is criminal libel case. The article says up to 7 years in jail. Do you think civil case has jail sentence?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

The only example I can think as an example of criminal libel in Japan is contempt of court and Perjury in which both has a complete different meaning altogether.

In present day Japan there is no such thing as Lèse-majesté.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Tina,

I am not familiar with Korean law and only know Corporate and Finance laws in Japan. I don't know if the article is correct or not on the 7 years jail sentence. But I will say with great confidence that civil case should not carry any jail sentence.

My gathering on this criminal libel suit in Korea is more about Korean tradition on Saving Face. I do know this is important in East Asian cultures but bringing that into the code of law is borderline injustice. For ex. if someone call public official P as a liar and a cheating heart in a scathing article published by media D, the use of criminal libel suit is a violation against freedom of expression under western law or US law. But apparently in Korea, according this article and others, its a triable penal issue. I disagree with this but if that's the law of the land in Japan and Korea, so be it. My comments are purely based on western and US law standards.

Usomoto,

I agree its a political farce. But with the political atmosphere between the 2 nations, couple with the fact that Sankei is a Japanese media company publishing a scathing article in Korea on its President which many accusations or insinuations are false with indisputable proof and evidence. One do wonder about the MOTIVE and you really can't blame the Koreans for being upset. But I do get it, she's a public figure and she does need to develop some thick skin.

I often called our president Oduma. And a ton of US media often criticize our president, some calling him a Kenyan and a Muslim. Oduma almost file libel suit against several media. That's a Civil matter even he's the president. No such thing as Criminal Libel Suit in US as that violates the freedom of expression. So you're right, its a 1st amendment issue as defamation often is.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Chosun Ilbo article reportedly "stopped short of speculating why she remained out of contact".

Also, Korean prosecutors have interrogated the aide, he says he did not meet the President that day.

Sankei's article under contention:

http://sankei.jp.msn.com/world/news/140803/kor14080312000001-n1.htm

朴槿恵大統領が旅客船沈没当日、行方不明に…誰と会っていた? / Passenger ship sank on the day, ... President had met with ... anyone missing?

https://www.koreatimes.co.kr/www/common/printpreview.asp?categoryCode=116&newsIdx=162620

... Chosun Ilbo raised suspicions over Park’s whereabouts on the day, but it stopped short of speculating why she remained out of contact at that time. But the newsletter circulated among stock market insiders alleged that Park met someone outside the presidential office.

The report is read by stock traders. It is produced regularly and contains unconfirmed stories based on rumors provided by anonymous sources. ...

http://www.koreaherald.com/view.php?ud=20140825000930

Park’s former aide questioned ... The 59-year-old ... , who recently appeared before the Seoul Central District Prosecutors’ Office, reportedly told investigators that he “had not gone to Cheong Wa Dae on April 16, and did not meet with President Park on that day.” Chung also reportedly argued that he is not a key aide of Park.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

She's a public figure, and the newspaper is for profit public media. If the intent of the media is to slander her without just cause or without doing its due-diligence, or there is malicious intent by the Sankei bureau chief on publishing false information against Park, then Park can absolutely file a libel suit against Sankei. This type of tort law is very common. See NY Times v. Sullivan for reference.

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

highball Prosecutors are assigned by Prosecutors offices for trials of crimes. When defendents can not afford defense attorney, a public defense attotney is assigned to criminals. On the contrary in civil court, plaintiff (genkoku) usually bring his.her attorney. Defendants (hikoku) use his/her attorney. Prosecutor means (hanzai kiso-attorney).
-1 ( +2 / -3 )

She already won if she files a libel suit.

I don't think so. This is a diplomatic matter too. I'm sure Japan is not happy if SK continues this.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

highball7, In Japan, libel criminal case is initiated on complaint from victim. If victim doesn't want it to be public, then no criminal case.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Sankei published gossips and that was defamation.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

No freaking wonder South Korea loves China so much. It's not a democracy but a dictatorship.

-2 ( +5 / -7 )

@SamuraiBlue: it's "criminal libel" and no civil suit

.....................................................................................................

You are right, Park did not sue in a civil court, She is not the plaintiff in a civil court as she hasn't sued at all. This case, it is on going. So, we will not know verdict until this case is over. Usually, witnesses and defendants are prohibited to travel/ moving out from area where lawsuits are conducted. And defendents can not move anything in his/her office in this kind of case. ..

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Looks as if someone can't admit one's wrong.

As toshiko and Tina had pointed out as well Korea is pursuing a criminal investigation not a civil case. If it was a civil case Ms. Park needs to be the plaintiff since the article was pointed at her. It is also not possible for a government agency be a plaintiff in a civil case since in a democratic nation the government is required to show acountability to response to any complaint by an individual whether it be right or point out when it is wrong.

Why don't you quit while you're ahead.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

This is interesting. Usually, Japanese media (except Sankei Shinbun) and English media are so anti-Japan. I wonder which side (SKorea or Mr. Kato) they are going to take. I hope those media realize they are journalists, not propaganda machines.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

"Just because its the prosecutors from the state, it doesn't necessarily mean its a criminal case."

highball7, if the prosecutor from the state is charging, it is always a criminal case.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

@highball7: My comment was based on current legal action. Not from paranoia ignorant mind. You did not write Park can file in any of your comments.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

highball7

IF you understand the law, whichever department of justice in Korea can file civil case against a corporate entity or a private person. Just because its the prosecutors from the state, it doesn't necessarily mean its a criminal case . Learn the difference between the two.

Your words not mine.

I think it's you who needs to re-study THE LAW.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

How about total press freedoms here in Japan too?! Practically every single Japanese newspaper here looks totally similar on the front cover (except for Sankei Shinbun which has an extra anti-China or anti-Korean or anti-foreign artcile on the front as a bonus). You report something unsavoury and you're ostracized. Result - every reporter reports the same stuff spoon-fed to them by the authorities.

I don't know what the situation is like in Korea (and I don't care since I don't live there), but the situation here is nothing to brag about.

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

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