[EDITORIALS]Roh's worrisome backers

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[EDITORIALS]Roh's worrisome backers

"Nosamo," the shortened Korean name of the group calling itself "People who love Roh Moo-hyun," has emerged as the most eye-catching organization in Korea. The group launched an Internet campaign for Mr. Roh in the Millennium Democratic Party's presidential primaries. This new form of political power helped Mr. Roh to win. The group not only engineered a comeback for Mr. Roh during the earlier stage of the primaries, but also induced more people to participate in politics.

We are worried, however, about the group's moves after Mr. Roh became the presidential candidate. Monday's press briefing by Myung Kaynam, the Nosamo leader, shows why. There was something gruesome about the way Mr. Myung organized the event and what he said.

Mr. Myung assailed Grand National Party Representative Park Won-hong, who had called the organization, "political lumpen," a "pseudo-religion" and a "pretend civic group." The briefing also outlined the group's future activities. Understandably, Mr. Myung was overwhelmed by strong emotion. It is nevertheless impossible to understand why Mr. Myung banned a particular newspaper's reporter from attending the ostensibly open briefing and called the national daily "a gangster paper." He stated that there are other gangster papers, but said his group would concentrate on boycotting only the one newspaper in order to maximize the ban's influence.

We sense a demagogic intention. Mr. Myung can be criticized for his evaluation of the press; such wrongful populism will probably be regarded as an organized crime. Whenever a group launches a new form of political activity, people wonder if it violates the law banning preliminary election campaigning. When asked if Nosamo can be seen as a political group, Mr. Myung answered "maybe so."

If the group's political activities ignore the laws as it ignored a particular newspaper, no one will support it. For Nosamo to become a real driving force of historical development, it should respect laws and traditional practices at the same time it introduces its new reforms and changes in the political arena.
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