Korea’s independent counsel grilling culture minister, ex-presidential chief of staff

Korea’s independent counsel grilling culture minister, ex-presidential chief of staff


Our top story this lunchtime… The current culture minister and a former
presidential chief of staff are being questioned as suspects about their alleged involvement
in the blacklisting of cultural figures critical of the government. We connect live to our Hwang Hojun,ze… who’s
at the independent counsel office in southern Seoul. Hojun, the investigation is starting to pick
up a real head of steam… You’re absolutely right, Mark. I’m standing in the parking lot of the building
where the independent counsel office is located and although it’s relatively calm at the moment,
it was absolute chaos this morning. Between 9.30 and 10am,… it was packed with
reporters from numerous news outlets and protesters hoping to catch a glimpse of Kim Ki-choon,
the former presidential chief of staff and Cho Yoon-sun, the current sitting culture
minister,… as they entered the building to be interrogated by the team. Minister Cho was the first to arrive and left
a single comment before disappearing into the elevator. Take a look. “I will fully cooperate with the special prosecutors’
investigation. I hope the probe gets to the bottom of the
truth.” Kim, who arrived less than half an hour after
Cho, declined to make any remarks. As you said, both are being grilled as we
speak, both as a suspects, over allegations of perjury and abuse of power as they are
suspected of being involved in the creation of a blacklist of about 1,000 cultural figures,…
including artists and institutes critical of the government. The list was intended to block them from receiving
state support and sponsorship. Kim, who held his post at the presidential
office from August 2013 to February 2015, allegedly choreographed the creation of the
blacklist starting in 2014. Culture Minister Cho, who previously served
as the presidential secretary for political affairs from June 2014 to May 2015, was allegedly
in charge of actually generating the list and handing it over to the culture ministry. Both have continued to deny the allegations. Minister Cho initially claimed in a National
Assembly hearing last month that she wasn’t even aware of the list but later admitted
that she knew of its existence… and that it was created to exclude specific artists
from state subsidies. That reversal leaves her facing a perjury
charge as well. There was some controversy before, over whether
the independent counsel team has the jurisdiction to investigate the “blacklist.” While emphasizing the blacklisting is a serious
constitutional violation that oppresses one’s freedom of expression, the independent counsel
team’s spokesperson clarified this month that the team has found leads that suggests systematic
and wrongful interference regarding personnel transfer, related to the blacklist. And as article 15 of the special law stipulates,
the independent counsel team says related incidents discovered during the probe are
also subject to investigation. Mark, watchers are saying a face-to-face investigation
is highly likely as both Kim Ki-choon and Cho Yoon-sun were summoned on the same day..
and that requests for their arrest warrants are inevitable,… but we’ll have to wait
and see until we get further details during the team’s afternoon briefing. Back to you, Mark.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *