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[ED] Disputes over column

DPK's response was more controversial than article itself

The Democratic Party of Korea (DPK) has withdrawn a complaint it filed with the prosecution against a female professor and a newspaper that published her column that was critical of the ruling party and President Moon Jae-in.

The withdrawal came after former Prime Minister Lee Nak-yon, the leading potential presidential hopeful who is highly anticipated to co-lead the DPK campaign in the April 15 general election, criticized the move as damaging to the freedom of speech. As the controversy continued, Lee, who is also the party's candidate for a parliamentary seat in Seoul's Jongno District in the upcoming polls, said Sunday the party should always be "humble" before the people.

In the Jan. 29 op-ed article, titled "Except for DPK," Lim Mi-ri, a political studies professor from Korea University, urged people not to vote for DPK candidates in the general election as a form of popular judgment against what she called an "arrogant and selfish" government. The party filed a complaint with the prosecution against Lim and the publisher, the Kyunghyang Shinmun, claiming that the column was extremely biased to the point of violating the Election Law. The party also alleged that she used to work for Ahn Cheol-soo, who is preparing to create a new political party ahead of the election. However, the party's move triggered an uproar not only from the other parties, but from some DPK members, including the former prime minister.

The right to free speech is a constitutional value that we should never give up. Lim's column was indeed controversial, but what was more controversial was the DPK's response. Whether or not it violated the Election Law is a matter that should be left to election officials to decide.


DPK's response was more controversial than article itself

The Democratic Party of Korea (DPK) has withdrawn a complaint it filed with the prosecution against a female professor and a newspaper that published her column that was critical of the ruling party and President Moon Jae-in.

The withdrawal came after former Prime Minister Lee Nak-yon, the leading potential presidential hopeful who is highly anticipated to co-lead the DPK campaign in the April 15 general election, criticized the move as damaging to the freedom of speech. As the controversy continued, Lee, who is also the party's candidate for a parliamentary seat in Seoul's Jongno District in the upcoming polls, said Sunday the party should always be "humble" before the people.

In the Jan. 29 op-ed article, titled "Except for DPK," Lim Mi-ri, a political studies professor from Korea University, urged people not to vote for DPK candidates in the general election as a form of popular judgment against what she called an "arrogant and selfish" government. The party filed a complaint with the prosecution against Lim and the publisher, the Kyunghyang Shinmun, claiming that the column was extremely biased to the point of violating the Election Law. The party also alleged that she used to work for Ahn Cheol-soo, who is preparing to create a new political party ahead of the election. However, the party's move triggered an uproar not only from the other parties, but from some DPK members, including the former prime minister.

The right to free speech is a constitutional value that we should never give up. Lim's column was indeed controversial, but what was more controversial was the DPK's response. Whether or not it violated the Election Law is a matter that should be left to election officials to decide.




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