[EDITORIALS]Big Brother is alive and well

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[EDITORIALS]Big Brother is alive and well

At the Blue House’s request, the National Intelligence Service checked the record of telephone calls between a journalist and his source. That is clearly an abuse of power. The Protection of Communications Secrets Act says communications data can only be released when necessary to protect the nation’s security. How have the telephone conversations between the reporter and the source damaged national security?
The news report in question was headlined “National Security Council and Foreign Ministry in conflict.” After reading it, we still fail to find anything about how national security or diplomatic confidentiality were affected.
Many people believe that the Blue House was upset because of grumbling at the Foreign Ministry about the Blue House. It appears that the tracing of phone records was a response to that dissatisfaction with the ministry. We begin to wonder if this so-called “reform-minded” administration differs from its predecessors, when phone traces were common.
Reviewing those records was also a clear violation of press freedom. There are many ways to correct an erroneous article or rebut it publicly. Seoul can demand that a correction or a retraction be published. It is also possible to file suit, and the Blue House has already filed a series of them against media companies. In addition to all that, the Blue House is now investigating phone records. Does that mean that a newspaper has to write only articles favorable to this administration?
The Blue House and the National Intelligence Service justified their acts later, but unconvincingly. The spy agency said, “We did not give the specifics of the call summaries to the Blue House.” But the Blue House civil affairs office reportedly showed the call summaries when it questioned foreign ministry officials. How can this be explained?
Such practices have not yet been rooted out because no one was ever punished despite numerous allegations of wiretapping. Many government bodies have already illegally wiretapped phone conversations and reviewed call summaries, but none was reprimanded.
There should be a thorough investigation and punishment. The National Assembly should also find the truth separately.
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