중앙데일리

Restoring Order, Restoring Trust

Nov 12,2000
The Blue House has announced that it will intensify its efforts to restore social order. Recent scandals involving high-ranking officials tell us that establishing a proper code of ethics for public office has become an urgent task for Korea.

Those who are supposed to establish a proper code of ethics have to be more ethical than anyone else. This includes public prosecutors, the police and agents of the National Tax Service and Financial Supervisory Service. Perhaps it should include Blue House employees as well. Last week''s revelation that a Blue House housekeeping officer had been taking huge bribes has upset a lot of people.

All the recent political and financial scandals, including last year''s Furgate, have involved somebody related to core members of this regime. That creates an absurd situation. When leaders stained by wrongdoings of people close to them call for a higher standard of ethics, people tend to sneer, "Look who''s talking." People implicated in such scandals might claim that they are innocent and that they are the victims of political maneuvering. But they would be better advised to look back at their past practices and think about possible mistakes they commited.

The prosecution has to reflect on its past actions to understand the current situation and its miserable position in it. From Furgate to Hanvitgate to Chunggate there have been suspicions that core members of the government have been involved, and in every case the prosecution has denied this involvement. The prosecution''s lack of credibility, along with lingering suspicions surrounding key figures in the administration, make restoring social order very difficult.

Many people are cynical about the government''s announcement. Some even suspect that it will be used as an excuse to gloss over the political difficulties of the government. Trying to divert public attention with a major announcement of this sort has been a favorite tactic of our governments whenever they find themselves in an embarrassing situation.

Such tactics may be useful for their immediate purposes, but in the long run, they damage the trust between the government and the people. The practice of justice should be a routine, everyday matter requiring continuous effort. Instead of making an occasional event of it, the government should apologize to the people about the present situation.


by Noh Jae-hyun




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