Chosun Ilbo Responds To Ministry Of Justice’s Conclusion That They Influenced Jang Ja Yeon Investigation
On May 20, Chosun Ilbo, a major South Korean newspaper, released an official statement about the conclusions reached by the Ministry of Justice’s Committee of Past Affairs.
Earlier on the same day, the Committee of Past Affairs made their decision on whether to continue reinvestigating the late Jang Ja Yeon’s sexual abuse case. As part of their decision, and based on the report submitted by the Investigative Team of Past Affairs, the committee concluded that during the 2009 investigation right after Jang Ja Yeon’s death, Chosun Ilbo had put pressure on the police to lightly investigate members of their top management.
The following is Chosun Ilbo’s statement:
On May 20, the Ministry of Justice’s Committee of Past Affairs concluded that Chosun Ilbo put pressure on the 2009 investigation into Jang Ja Yeon’s case. However, this conclusion, as well as the one-sided claims made by certain people in the investigation, is completely untrue.
1) There is absolutely no truth to the claim made by the former commissioner of the Gyeonggi Provincial Police Agency, Cho Hyun Oh. Cho Hyun Oh has claimed that Lee Dong Han, the chief reporter at Chosun Ilbo at the time, had gone to Cho’s office during the 2009 investigation in order to put pressure on him. This is completely false and Lee Dong Han had not even met Cho Hyun Oh until after the investigation.
Chosun Ilbo, as well as Chosun News Press CEO Lee Dong Han, has filed a defamation lawsuit against Cho Hyun Oh. We are currently in the middle of a civil suit about this as well.
2) There is absolutely no truth to the claim made by the former commissioner of the National Police Agency, Kang Hee Rak. Kang Hee Rak has claimed that he was pressured by Lee Dong Han, as the chief reporter of Chosun Ilbo, during the 2009 investigation. It is true that Lee Dong Han met with former commissioner Kang Hee Rak during the investigation, but all that was said was a request to reveal the results of the investigation as quickly as possible. This was because Bang Sang Hoon, the president of Chosun Ilbo who had no connection to the Jang Ja Yeon case, had been swept up in online rumors and become the subject of defamation at the time.
At the time, former commissioner Kang Hee Rak refused the request to reveal the results of the investigation quickly. The police and the public prosecutor’s office took four months to complete the investigation and concluded at the end that Bang Sang Hoon had nothing to do with the Jang Ja Yeon case.
We strongly regret that due to these one-sided claims, Chosun Ilbo has been portrayed as unfairly influencing police investigations. We at Chosun Ilbo aim to correct the facts and recover our reputation through legal means if necessary.
One of Chosun Ilbo’s former reporters has previously been indicted for sexually assaulting Jang Ja Yeon. The Investigative Team of Past Affairs also questioned the former CEO of a related company, TV Chosun, as well as the CEO’s uncle.
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