[EDITORIALS]Squeezing out donationsUri Party members allegedly sent a letter to e-sports companies asking for donations of 300 million to 500 million won ($330,000-550,000) to sponsor an e-sports president's cup competition. The letter is from a committee for development of e-sports and game industries, over which Jung Chung-rae presides as chairman.
E-sports events include tournaments or leagues of network gamers. These events have become a new symbol of Korea and its advanced information technology. Legislative support, arguably, is not a bad thing.
But if we take a closer look, we can see that their procedures and ideas are no different from old-fashioned politicians' practices. After the letter caused public complaints, they blamed their staff and said they would continue asking for sponsors. They still don't understand what they did wrong.
The biggest problem is the political habit of asking for donations from companies. For the past three years, the size of the quasi-taxes that the current administration has collected has increased by 21 percent. The quasi-tax revenue in 2004 was 58.53 trillion won ($60 billion), almost half the national tax take.
On Jan. 4, President Roh Moo-hyun asked the chairmen of the five major economic groups to contribute to society in an effort to ease social polarization.
Since then companies have been giving donations to charities, and even a foreign company like Lone Star Funds is doing the same.
Still, politicians demand donations from companies for their projects even though they have promised that they would make it easier for companies to do business here. Why do politicians want to host an event like an e-sports cup and yet ask for sponsors? They call it “sponsorship,” but what company would not feel pressured to give money after it received a letter from dozens of governing party members?
The e-sports business has settled down in the private sector. Since an e-sports association was launched in 2000, several conglomerates have launched their own teams of professional gamers. There are several national games as well. There are also many cable channels and satellite channels specializing in e-sports.
Why do politicians try to unite these games in the private sector, even though they are already growing in a healthy way?
If that is their shallow tactic to win favor from the younger generation, they should not even try.