[EDITORIALS]An illegal political blacklistA pro-Roh Moo-hyun group, People’s Power, has begun a movement to gather information on politicians. Voters, of course, have an absolute right to evaluate and share information about politicians. But the group’s selection of lawmakers to be surveyed and the nature of its questionnaire make us question the survey’s fairness and objectivity.
The eight lawmakers selected for the first survey are mostly conservative opponents of President Roh Moo-hyun. An exception is Representative Chyung Dai-chul, chairman of the Millennium Democratic Party. The group said it would expand its survey to all lawmakers. But the questions it wants to ask seem designed to insult particular politicians. Asking a presidential candidate to step aside because his popularity was waning is labeled in the questionnaire an “anti-democratic practice.” Quitting the Millennium Democratic Party in protest of its presidential candidate, Mr. Roh, is said to plant political distrust among the people. Such judgments of individual actions are more than enough to find the survey politically motivated. Politicians who criticized the tax probe of media companies are described as trying to see how the wind blows. A politician’s explanation about his son’s draft exemption is labeled “far-fetched.” The questions give an impression that the group has already made its judgments and is waiting for a chance to launch an attack.
The questionnaire was produced by Nosamo, which supported President Roh’s election campaign, and another group protesting against a conservative newspaper. People’s Power, it appears, wants to blacklist particular politicians in next April’s legislative election. Concerns mount that it will revive the last election’s blacklist campaign. It is doubtful that a group with a clear political agenda can objectively conduct such a survey.
Blacklisting a candidate must be no more than personal opinion; organized blacklists have been ruled unconstitutional. The move to publicize politicians’ views should do no more than provide fair and objective data to inform the voters. It should never be associated with a particular political group, nor be abused to attack particular politicians.