Reflection before applause
The author is a national team reporter at the JoongAng Ilbo.
KT CEO Hwang Chang-gyu was able to avoid a flock of reporters when he reported to police summoning last Friday on allegations of management irregularities. The police had not informed the media about the arrival of Hwang at the National Police Agency.
Instead, the police admitted him to questioning when reporters sought confirmation of the summoning — an hour after Hwang went in for interrogation in the early morning.
The remarkable change in the police summoning of suspects comes after the prosecution announced their stop to disclosing their identity, their summoning schedules, and their subjects. Min Gab-ryong, commissioner of the National Police Agency, said that police should act in sync with the prosecution in their investigation rules. Hwang became the first example under the change.
But Hwang could not entirely avoid camera flashes as he ran into reporters when he came out after questioning.
Forcing suspects to stand before the prosecution office with showers of camera flashes every time they enter the prosecution office raised questions about human rights. Law enforcement agencies decided to end the practice from this month due to investigative agencies’ judgment that the public summoning causes too big a pain for the suspects.
But the changes were hurriedly put into action after Justice Minister Cho’s family came under a prosecutorial probe. Many have gone through the agonizing experience. But the humiliating ritual of baring public figures in front of the media spotlight before their conviction has come to an end even before anyone from the sitting power went through it.
It is not all bad that the humiliating practice is being scrapped partly due to political factors. On private citizens’ parts, they have the right to raise the issue and save the politician they support from the humiliation.
However, it is not right for the ruling camp to demand the change while having kept mum in the past. It also does not make sense for opposition parties to make such arguments on the grounds that they also suffered the pain as seen in the cases of former Presidents Lee Myung-bak and Park Geun-hye.
JoongAng Ilbo, Oct. 14, Page 32