ACRC Gives Warning After News Outlets Identify Whistleblower Involved In Exposing YG’s Alleged Ties With Police
The Anti-Corruption and Civil Rights Commission (ACRC) has revealed that it may be taking legal action against media outlets that have revealed the identity of informant “A,” who recently submitted a document exposing YG Entertainment’s alleged ties to the police.
On June 14, the Anti-Corruption and Civil Rights Commission stated through a press release, “Recently, we informed the authorities and the media about the possibility of a violation of the law regarding reports making inferences to or identifying the whistleblower who disclosed information under a fake name.”
The Commission explained, “The law stipulates that no one should inform others, disclose, or report personal information or other related data without consent from the informant, knowing that he or she is a whistleblower. Violation of the law may result in up to five years in prison or up to 50 million won (approximately $42,000) in fines.”
Min Seong Sim of the Commission commented, “The key to the protection of whistleblowers is making sure that the identity of the whistleblower is not disclosed, but the recent reports suggesting the identity of the whistleblower are quite concerning. The media, which is spearheading the increase of transparency in our society through the reporting of corruption and violations of public interest, should pay greater attention to the protection of whistleblowers.”
Min Seong Sim also requested the media to refrain from reporting the identity of the whistleblower by attaching an official document. In the official document, the Commission stated, “In the case that the media reports on corruption cases and matters related to whistleblowers in the future, we ask for your cooperation to ensure that the whistleblower’s confidentiality obligations are fully complied with.”
It was also reported that the Anti-Corruption and Civil Rights Commission plans to make a response based on the informant’s choices. A source from the Commission commented, “The informant is preparing to take legal action. There will be problems that can be resolved by the investigative authorities, and in the case of the Commission, it will make decisions in accordance to the will and decision of the informant.”
Previously on June 13, news outlet Edaily reported that the identity of “A,” who chatted with B.I in the alleged drug purchase messages, was Han Seo Hee. Although there was no direct mention of Han Seo Hee being whistleblower “A,” news reports of “A” anonymously submitting a document to the Anti-Corruption and Civil Rights Commission were released the same day.
Netizens on online communities and social media have since criticized the media for its unethical reporting practices and have filed complaints to the Press Arbitration Commission and the Anti-Corruption and Civil Rights Commission.
In the early morning of June 14, Han Seo Hee wrote on her Instagram, “To be honest, I didn’t know that my name would become known so quickly. It’s true that I’m surprised and scared. I earnestly ask you to consider this incident separately from my character. You shouldn’t put the focus on me. Really… I ask this of you.”