[EDITORIALS]Suddenly, media the target

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[EDITORIALS]Suddenly, media the target

The direction of the prosecution's investigation into Yoon Tae-shik's lobbying activities has apparently turned against the media, and there are allegations that the shift is intended to dilute the focus of the case. Yoon Tae-shik is the founder of Pass 21 and the prime suspect in the murder of his wife. The prosecution has reported very few tangible accomplishments in this case, having hauled in just a few lower-ranking bureaucrats. But, with the arrival of the new year, it appears to have started going after journalists as part of the inquiry.

We harbor no intentions whatsoever of defending the wrongdoings of journalists. Given their public responsibility, journalists must adhere to the highest standard of ethics and responsibility and, when impropriety is found in their conduct, must be held legally accountable. But the focus of this case must be weeding out those in government and politics who were involved in improper lobbying efforts and helped a suspected murderer avoid the law.

The prosecution has said journalists are inevitable targets of its investigation. Its logic is that journalists make up half of the list of the 50 or so shareholders of Pass 21. Of course, that the prosecution can decide to question one person over another is a question technical in nature. But this is the same prosecution that, after all this time on the case, managed to indict just one security guard at the Blue House, two police officers and one official each of the National Tax Service, the National Railroad Administration and the Seoul Metropolitan Subway Corporation. With such progress on the case that the prosecution were indeed trying to avoid the big fish would not be surprising.

The shareholder list obtained by the prosecution also fuels suspicion about intentions. The list not only specifies each shareholder's place of work but also whether the shares are held in his name or his spouse's. The level of detail raises suspicion that a government database may have been used in drawing up the roster. The source of the list and why it was put together must be clarified.

The prosecution's integrity has been seriously tarnished with the involvement of its top officials in a series of scandals. The prosecution cannot afford to leave any stone unturned in this case, if only as a signal that it is trying to restore the public's confidence in its uprightness.
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