It is no news that freedom of speech has shrunk since the establishment of the MB government severely. Among the many cases of repression of freedom of speech, one broke out after a government agency had surveilled on a businessman who uploaded personally a video clip lampooning the President in 2008. The agency was the Public Ethics Office under the Prime Minister’s Office, which handles, as we can imagine from its name, corruption issues of government officials. That the agency had absolutely no authority to investigate civilians made the surveillance illegal and several officials had to be indicted to the scandal.
It is highly unlikely that the agency alone voluntarily conducted the illegal surveillance. Many suspected that the Blue House was behind this and there was a related testimony, but the prosecution turned down the allegation due to “a critical lack of evidence.”
The situation turned upside down about three days ago after a former senior official of the agency exposed that a then administrative officer at the Blue House had ordered him to destroy the evidences and offered him a reward for a cooperation. The exposer, Jang Jin-su, provided the recording of his dialogue with Choi Jong-seok, the former Blue House officer, to the media.
The dialogue depicts the Blue House officer, who persuade the exposer to not reveal that the Blue House was behind all of this, and the exposer who gently (of course he was the one who was recording!) rejects. Although it is a long, banal, run-of-the-mill conspiration deal that tears apart, some lines are genuinely hilarious, make the readers question themselves whether they are reading a Hallyu telenovela script:
Choi: You really don’t know? What it means to live your life a bit frankly, you really don’t know?
Jang: I don’t know. I just want extenuation…
Choi: Yes, and I do appreciate what you’ve sacrificed… What I am saying is that we have to find out the best solution. This [exposure] is no good.
Jang: I don’t know how.
Choi: I’m going to resign, so go out [from government service] with me then. I will provide you with my company that I’m going to incorporate. I’m giving my word to you. No worries, then. I will provide you for life, whatever happens, if you just stand by me.