Chosun Ilbo, a major daily in the nation, lodged an official libel complaint with the prosecution against two lawmakers for implicating a senior executive of the newspaper with the suicide of an actress, the newspaper said Saturday.
The newspaper Friday sued Rep. Lee Jong-geol of the Democratic Party and Rep. Lee Jung-hee of the Democratic Labor Party as well as Shin Sang-chul, chief of the Internet-based newspaper, Surprise, to the Seoul’s Central Prosecutor’s Office “for defaming the reputation of Chosun Ilbo and the senior executive of the newspaper,” it said.
TV actress Jang Ja-yeon committed suicide last month at the age of 27. A police investigation revealed that she was a victim of sexual exploitation by the entertainment industry in its effort to gratify those who are in powerful positions in society.
Jang’s death memo listed the names of the individuals with whom she allegedly had sex. The list included the name of the senior executive at Chosun Ilbo.
During a parliamentary hearing, Rep. Lee mentioned the name of the senior executive and the name of the newspaper, calling for a fair investigation.
The case has made little headway.
The Internet-based newspaper, Surprise, also ran an article with real names. Other newspapers carried the news, but didn’t name the individual and the newspaper.
“Rep. Lee knew that the hearing was being live broadcast through the Internet Web site of the National Assembly. But he went on to make the ‘malicious’ comment,” the newspaper said.
Rep. Lee also disclosed the relevant names while attending MBC TV’s “100-Minute Debate” program.
Chosun said the lawmakers’ behavior “went beyond their immunity privileges and constitutes a crime.”
In addition to the libel suit, Chosun also plans to submit another civil lawsuit against them, seeking financial compensation, the newspaper said.
Meanwhile, the article drew intense interest from readers Saturday. As of 6:30 p.m., there were more than 140 readers’ comments, making it the most popular political news of the day, even surpassing the graft scandal of former President Roh Moo-hyun.
Most comments were negative toward the newspaper, saying the newspaper’s piece was a cover-up. (Korea Times)