[EDITORIALS]More work for highest court?On the heels of the Constitutional Court’s ruling that the special act on the construction of a new capital city was unconstitutional, controversy is now rising over the constitutionality of the four major legislative bills that the Uri Party is planning to introduce.
Uri has been pushing for the abolition of the National Security Act and the revision of the Criminal Code; for legislation to expose pro-Japanese collaborators; for tighter control of private schools; and for curbs on media ownership and circulation. These moves have generated fierce resistance in the media and the opposition. There could be grave flaws or defects in the bills.
The national private schools’ association has retained a lawyer to review the new bill on private schools with the aim of finding if there are grounds to request the Constitutional Court make a ruling on its constitutionality. The association claims that the bill, which calls for the introduction of an open-form board system and the transformation of school committees into organs of consultation, not only violates the basic rights and property rights of the schools but also goes against the principle of good faith. The association of private schools have taken the position that they will hold board meetings until the end of this month ― and will close their schools should the National Assembly pass the bill.
The media bill is also unconstitutional, experts say. They point to articles stipulating that newspapers must report their sales, subscriptions, circulations, advertisement fees and financial statements to the cultural minister. These articles could infringe upon the autonomy of media companies and threaten freedom of speech. The grounds for alleging that the three major newspapers’ share of over 60 percent of the market is market-dominant are ambiguous and contrary to market principles. In the 1980s, France also tried to pass a law restricting the market share of newspapers; said law was declared unconstitutional. To enforce particular organizing principles for an editing committee and a readers’ committee by use of the law is a threat to freedom of speech.
Uri turned the bills in to the National Assembly last Wednesday. Deliberations should not be rushed in order to get the bills passed this session; these bills could follow the special act on the transfer of the capital into the bin. It may take time, but both parties should strictly eliminate unconstitutional elements in the bills.