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LinkAsia | Sep 30
Have the words "North Korea" become dangerous in South Korea? All of the country's recent political scandals have been directly or indirectly relat...
In December, a host of the South Korean podcast called "I’m a Petty-Minded Creep" was thrown in jail for defaming President Lee Myung-bak. Chung Bong-ju had accused the president of being involved with BBK, a bankrupt company that had manipulated its stock price. The Twittersphere is lighting up with angry users who feel that the verdict is an attack on free speech.
Here, KeynoteOne says:
"Kim Jong-il’s death versus Chung Bong-ju’s conviction. Of course Chung’s conviction is more shocking."
Another user elaborates:
"People are angry, because we see this case not as a conviction of Chung, but as a conviction of freedom of speech."
For more on the story, we have the main host of "I’m a Petty-Minded Creep," Kim Ou-joon. Thanks for joining us, Mr. Kim. Now what evidence do you have that President Lee was involved in the stock fraud?
The prosecutor’s office should be looking for firm, physical proof. I mean, they’re the investigators, not us. Of course, a lot of circumstantial evidence exists, and that’s why we suspected President Lee’s involvement.
Do you think that the Lee administration is overly sensitive to criticism? And if so, why?
President Lee Myung-bak has been very active in defending his supporters and their interests. However, he has been mean, aggressive and intolerant of opposition. I don’t think this is the result of his political ideology or interests, but it comes from his own philosophy, personality and attitude.
Now why do you think that Mr. Chung and your program are getting such massive support from other South Koreans?
Our show’s motto is "Don’t Chicken Out." People have been intimidated since the beginning of Lee’s presidency. But we’ve emboldened people by making fun of the president. I think people are starting to think that they don’t have to be afraid. That’s why our show has been downloaded by lots of people and become very popular.
Now as you know, South Korea is holding two very important elections this year. Do you think that in light of this incident, there will be more free speech issues in the months ahead?
Definitely. So we’ve partnered with an NGO called "Lawyers for a Democratic Society" to create a fund called "Don’t Chicken Out" to defend freedom of speech. If someone is sued for posting their political opinion on a social networking site, the fund will pay for the cost of the lawsuit and a lawyer from the organization will defend them. Our show will also use the fund to file countersuits if necessary. This sort of intense fighting will happen, as this year is the year of elections.
Thank you, Mr Kim. Kim Ou-joon is a creator and a host of the satirical podcast "I’m a Petty-Minded Creep."