Monday, April 13, 2009

Daily Sues Lawmakers Over Late Actress Jang

Chosun Ilbo, a major Korean conservative daily, has filed a libel against Rep. Lee Jong-kul of the Democratic Party, Rep. Lee Jung-hee of the Democratic Labor Party and Shin Sang-chul of online newspaper Seoprise for linking its executive to the late actress Jang Ja-yeon.

The daily said that the two lawmakers mentioned the name of the senior executive and the name of the newspaper during a parliamentary hearing, although the executive is not related to Jang's suicide.

Actress Jang was found after committing suicide on March 7 and the police investigation found that she was allegedly forced to have sexual relationships with men of power. She left a note including names of individuals whom she was said to have been coerced into entertaining, and the list included the name of the paper's executive.

Both lawmakers refuted the libel. Rep. Lee Jong-kul said Chosun Ilbo should not ridicule lawmakers rights, which are guaranteed by the Constitution, referring to their immunity from any legal action over remarks made inside the National Assembly.

The lawmaker said, "Chosun Ilbo usually mentions the names in their articles to satisfy the people's right to know and now it tries to conceal the right, saying it is a defamation when the situation is against it", Lee said Saturday.

Rep. Lee Jung-hee criticized the police for being lukewarm in investigating the VIPs' alleged actions involving the late actress. The lawmakers made the briefing at the National Assembly, Sunday.

"Police are slow in probing the sexual exploitation case. If the police had not yielded to power and investigated thoroughly, the lawmakers who indicated the reason wouldn't be sued", Lee said.

The paper is also suing the president of the progressive Seoprise for posting an article concluding that Chosun Ilbo's executive is related to Jang's list.

Some media outlets made public the real name of the executive and the actual name of the paper while others chose not to.


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