Squandered press moneyChung Dong-young, Lee Myung-bak and other presidential candidates all oppose the government’s new media policy, which is focused on closing the conventional pressrooms. They all promise to restore the press rooms if elected. Chung even said he will add more seats. This means that whomever becomes president, the new integrated newsroom that the Roh administration prepared will become a useless white elephant, and conventional pressrooms will be needed.
Talk about waste, fraud and abuse.
In June the current administration passed a policy that allocated 2.6 billion won ($2.8 million) for its press plans, and it has used some of that money to implement Roh’s idea.
The presidential candidates object to the policy, so it is obvious that the Roh administration knew that money earmarked for an integrated pressroom would be wasted when the new government comes in.
When considering the amount of money required for the next administration to restore the conventional media rooms, the total amount of squandered money could reach 4 billion won. All scattered to the wind with nothing gained.
This is an example of foolish waste by the Roh administration. It is obvious that the money will be wasted. It is a childish move by Roh to use tax money to take revenge on the media without thinking about where the money comes from. The country has to order that those responsible reimburse the money in the name of fair tax collection.
The current system, however, lacks measures to recoup the loss caused by an individual or a group. Some progressive scholars and lawyers are trying to bring a class action suit. It will allow a few taxpayers to file a lawsuit on behalf of all taxpayers against the officials who caused damage to the country and its financial status. It will allow people to file a lawsuit against the president who originally planned the policy and his aides, including executive officials in related government organizations. They may have to pay back the damage they caused. In some cases the lawsuit may include cabinet members on the defendants list.
In the private sector, executives pay back stock owners for the loss and damage they cause to a company.
These immoral officials must be taught a lesson. They must learn that even though their term is almost over, it does not mean their fiscal responsibilities to the nation are over. It is a message they must hear loud and clear, along with future government leaders.
with the Korea JoongAng Daily
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