[EDITORIALS]Determine the truthAlthough the Blue House made public the result of its investigation over alleged influence-peddling involving the minister and vice minister of culture, the controversy over the issue still goes on. The Grand National Party yesterday asked those connected to the case to appear before the National Assembly’s Culture Committee for questioning.
The request in effect says that it cannot believe the Blue House statement that former Vice Minister Oh Jee-chull interceded on personnel matters at the behest of Seo Young-seok, former chief of online media outlet Seoprise. Nor can it believe that Mr. Seo used the minister’s name to exercise influence over a personnel appointment.
Judging by common sense, the Blue House explanation was hardly persuasive. It turns out that the head of the School of Film, TV and Drama at the Korean National University of Arts played the major role in the process of asking for a favorable review. Mr. Seo, who had claimed his innocence until the Blue House announcement, has changed his stance, apologizing for “causing damage to the participatory government.” It turns out that he has lied all along. Thus, it seems only natural that the public suspects that there may be more coverups or information withheld.
There may be differences of opinion over whether this incident deserves such great public attention and inquiry. But if the Blue House undertook the investigation because questions were raised, it should have left no questions unanswered. One way for the governing camp to clear up suspicions is to accept a parliamentary investigation or a cross-examination of the principals.
We have learned about a new type of collusion between the government and the press. Seoprise has been openly supportive of President Roh Moo-hyun. During the April 15 National Assembly elections, Seoprise produced and sold campaign promotional videos, worth millions of won, to Uri Party candidates. With gains from those sales, Seoprise was in the process of expanding its business. While advocating severing government and media ties, if the government shows favoritism to those who support it, how persuasive will its words be? Does it have the right to call for such reform?