[EDITORIAL] Questions for Kim Young-sam

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[EDITORIAL] Questions for Kim Young-sam

Former president Kim Young-sam's behavior is absolutely dumbfounding. He admitted, during his stay in Japan last week, that he had conducted tax audits of media companies during his presidency and stated that "if the results had been made public, they would have caused major problems for the media." But on Sunday, back in Seoul, he talked evasively, saying that his statement "was made in answer to reporters' questions and was misreported." This only makes one wonder if he really knows what he is saying.

According to his own statement, he was aware of major problems associated with the property and the morality of a number of media owners as a result of tax probes launched in 1994, but he did not disclose the results of the investigation for fear they would lead to public outcry. However, by stating that the family owners of media firms owned property that they should not have, he has not only spread suspicions about media corruption, but has promoted a distrust of the entire media industry and ended up upholding the legitimacy of the unparalleled tax probes being conducted by the current administration.

Mr. Kim's own words amount to a confession that he attempted to tame the media through tax audits and an acknowledgement that he made a deal with the media to "stop the probe after a specified amount of taxes had been collected."

At the press meeting upon his return home, he claimed that the current tax audit of media companies is intended to "gag the press and threaten them." He also called on the press "to resist and rise against the government." It is understandable that he talks of the significance of tax audits of media firms in connection with his experience. But instigating the press to resist and rise against the tax audit is hard to understand. If a media company is found to be involved in irregularities as a result of a tax audit, it will be straightened out according to the law.

For him to claim now that his actions were intended to protect the media whereas the present administration's moves are acts of media repression is not reasonable.

All these absurd remarks on the tax audit of media companies resulted in bringing unrevokable disgrace on the whole media world. Mr. Kim should explain the exact meaning of his words and what he really meant to say.
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