중앙데일리

Roh aide quits amid lawsuit row

Aug 27,2003
Hwang Deok-nam, a legal affairs secretary at the Blue House in charge of legal actions against the press, quit yesterday, the Blue House said.
The 46-year-old former lawyer was the overseer of President Roh Moo-hyun’s libel suits filed against Kim Moon-soo, an opposition lawmaker, and the nation’s four major dailies, the JoongAng, Chosun, Dong-a and Hankook Ilbos, for disclosing and publishing stories about rumors of his older brother’s alleged property speculation.
Her resignation prompted speculation that she may have been let go for failing to notify other Blue House officials and the president when a law firm filed the suit for Mr. Roh on Aug. 13. But others said she had been contemplating resigning.
“The lawyer that filed the suits immediately went on vacation, so Senior Civil Affairs Secretary Moon Jae-in was unable to confirm the exact date,” Yoon Tai-young, the Blue House spokesman, said yesterday.
After the press reported the suits, the Blue House scrambled to find out the exact date on which the suits were filed, and when controversy continued, Mr. Roh said that he may pursue litigation after his five-year tenure ends in 2008.
Meanwhile, Jung Soon-kyun, vice minister of the Government Information Agency, apologized again yesterday for his letter denouncing Korean journalists that was published in the Aug. 22-24 weekend edition of The Asian Wall Street Journal. In the letter, Mr. Jung said the press-government relationship was essentially corrupt and said, “The officials curried various favors with the media, maintained a select group of supposedly influential reporters at each government agency, wined and dined them, and regularly handed them envelopes of cash.”
Following his public apology Friday, he apologized a second time, in front of the National Assembly’s Culture and Tourism Committee.
He admitted to the committee that he had also received money and had been “wined and dined” when he was a journalist.
He said he blamed the English translation of his letter for creating misunderstanding, saying that in his Korean version, he had said the practice by officials of wining and dining journalists and giving them bribes was a thing of the past, not of the present, and apologized for “not thoroughly checking” the final translation.
Yesterday, Jo Young-dong, minister of the information agency, went further, saying “The word regularly can mean from time to time, and ‘gratuity’ does not always mean envelopes of cash.”


by Park Shin-hong


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