Name: Kwon In Suk, Govt. Guidelines for Press coverage

Date:  1985 - 1995

Location:  Asia

SubjectPolitical/Economic/Social Opinion

MediumPrint Journalism , Television

Artist: General Press

Confronting Bodies: Ministry of Culture

Date of Action: July 17, 1986

Specific Location

Description of Artwork: Press coverage concerning the sexual torture by police of Kwon In Suk, a female university student.

Description of Incident: "... The July 17, 1986 guideline permitted newspapers to carry the story on the national pages, but forbade the publication of reports by individual journalists. The government specified that the headline must read "sexual insult," and not "sexual assault." The press was directed to publish the prosecutor's entire report, in which the student's allegations of physical abuse and rape were found to be groundless fabrications and part of a communist strategy. The guideline further stated that "details of accusations made by barristers for the anti-government side or the NCC (National Council of Churches), and the communique concerning the incident published by other women's associations, must not be reported... " "On September 6, 1986 a special 63-page edition of Mal was devoted entirely to an expose of the government's daily issuance of "guidelines" to the nation's newspapers. As described in Mal, the "information guidelines" (Hongbo Chojong Jichim) are instructions to the press, which are sent every day to each newspaper publisher by the Department of Public Information Control (DPIC) of the Ministry of Culture and Information. Using such terms as "possible," "impossible," and "absolutely impossible," the DPIC decides and regulates all details including the form, content, and admissibility of reports about particular incidents, situations and circumstances. Newspapers adhering loyally to the guidelines will eliminate the article without hesitation if it is classified as "absolutely impossible," will give up the article with a little awkwardness if it is "impossible," and will carry the article with haste and relief if it is "possible," irrespective of the importance and value of the news item. As well as such detailed instructions, and such obedience, there is further press control by describing fact as fiction, or vice versa, and by dressing up small events as big ones or vice versa."

Results of Incident: The guidelines were upheld.

Source: Asia Watch, "Freedom of Expression in the Republic of Korea," August, 1988, Pg. 49-51

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