Manipulating the vigilsThe candlelight vigils that began to express concerns over U.S. beef imports are transforming into a political struggle. The anti-mad cow organization proclaimed at a press conference that “We will fight to make special measures, including the resignation of the administration, take place.” It is their right to set the theme of the vigil. However, trying to turn the candlelight vigils into a political struggle that represents only the views of a few interest groups, without having been given authority to do so, is an abuse of confidence and an insult to civilians and students who participated in the vigils. The number of participants in the vigils has thus shrunk dramatically.
The attempt to transform the vigils into a political struggle has led to many illegal acts. The night before yesterday, 500 protesters blocked Taepyeongno and shouted in front of the Chosun Ilbo and Dong-A Ilbo that they stop publishing. They also posted stickers with the same message all over the entrances. About 100 protesters blocked two to three roads and marched up to the JoongAng Ilbo and trespassed into the private parking lot, illegally posting hundreds of stickers on the entry, walls and pillars. They called on the Chosun, Dong-A and JoongAng newspapers to stop publishing.
It is a serious threat against media freedom for demonstrations to illegally enter media organizations ? just because the organizations hold different views.
Along this line, it is noteworthy to refer to the International Press Institute’s General Assembly resolution on the media situation in South Korea put forth the day before yesterday.
The resolution states that certain groups in South Korea are using digital populism to attack major newspapers. The resolution used as an example, a subscription boycott campaign on the Internet against major newspapers, and warnings against publishing advertisements in them.
As such, the freedom of the media is being threatened and illegal acts are continuing, but the police are not doing anything.
Law enforcement authorities are carefully watching how the demonstrators will act. We want to ask where the law and principles that the administration so emphasized at the beginning, have disappeared to.
Of course, we must actively protect peaceful and legal demonstrations. However, if we close our eyes to illegal demonstrations and acts, this country is not a law-abiding country. Law enforcement authorities should now assert their authority.