Thursday, May 07, 2009

Hold a press conference, go to jail

(All your press conferences are belong to us)
With a busier schedule, this blog had become mostly defunct. I might try to post here a bit more frequently now that I have more time. No promises, however. There has been just too much stuff to report on: the Yongsan tragedy, ongoing canal development, irregular workers movement, the ridiculous New Right movement, the investigation into Roh, Youtube's appropriate response to the real name system, the Minerva witch-hunt, and so on...

On top of all that there is the recent phemenon of breaking up press conferences and calling them protests. Tragicomic, all of it. From the Hankyoreh,

Civic and social groups actively contest curtailment of rights

Civic and social groups have begun launching an active response to police suppression that has been citing press conferences as illegal gatherings and rounding participants for arrest.

Several human rights groups joined in solidarity to present a petition on the police suppression of press conferences to the National Human Rights Commission of Korea (NHRCK) on Wednesday. Before presenting the petition, they held a press conference...

Park Ju-min, a lawyer and member of MINBYUN-Lawyers for a Democratic Society, said, “We have even been hearing that there is an internal directive to regard all press conferences where slogans are chanted and banners hung as illegal gatherings.” Park added, “It is only possible to become a nation that promotes human rights when freedoms of assembly and expression are observed.”

Participants in the press conference made references to both the arrest of six civic group members who were in front of the National Police Agency building Monday protesting the arrest of people attending events commemorating the first anniversary of the candlelight vigil demonstrations, and the arrest of 49 university students who were holding a press conference and head-shaving ceremony on April 10.

Police have been ramping up their interventions of press conferences recently by broadcasting warnings and measuring noise levels. In reference to this, Jinbo Corea spokesperson Jang Man-seok said the police have “established a position to shut off all expressions of political ideas, including press conferences.”

Observers are criticizing the police’s approach of treating press conferences as illegal gatherings as an exploitation of loopholes in the law. “There are no stipulations on assemblies in the Law on Assemblies and Demonstrations, and the stipulations on protests are vague. The police are exploiting this, and are arbitrarily designating press conferences as assemblies,” said Park Ju-min.


  1. please keep posting when you can. this is a vital time for all your blog covered - and no one else seems able to fill the gap.

  2. Yes! Your blog is unique and valuable. Thanks for what you've done til now. "Fighting!"

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