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Ex-Leader Denounces Media Probe As Revenge

Feb 10,2001
TOKYO - Kim Young-sam, a former South Korean president, said Friday that while tax audits of media firms are necessary, the fact that the Kim Dae-jung administration is looking into the companies' books with personnel not only from the National Tax Service but also from the Fair Trade Commission is "an infringement on the freedom of the press and an act of political revenge."

Speaking at Tokyo's New Otani Hotel, Mr. Kim said he himself conducted an audit of media companies when he was president, but that he decided not to make the result of the investigation public in the interest of some of the companies' futures.

He said he feared the public might lose respect for the media organizations had he disclosed the results, adding that certain family members of media owners were found to have possessed illegal wealth.

Mr. Kim also said he never used the result as a means to repress the media, but that he once told a gathering of media heads that their reporting should be accurate and honest.

Regarding North Korean leader Kim Jong-il's planned visit to Seoul, Mr. Kim said he will use "all means possible" to prevent him from coming to Seoul.

by Oh Day-young




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