6 December 2001


Three journalists detained for over one month under National Security Law

Incident details

Baek Oon-jong, Lee Chang-gi, Park Joon-young


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(RSF/IFEX) - In a letter to South Korean Minister of Justice Choi Kyung-won, RSF asked for an explanation for the prolonged detention of three journalists who work for a magazine that supports the North Korean regime. "If the arrests of the three journalists are connected to their writings, we ask that you intervene to facilitate their release," stated RSF Secretary-General Robert Ménard.

According to information gathered by RSF, Lee Chang-gi, Park Joon-young and Baek Oon-jong, editor-in-chief and journalists, respectively, for the magazine "Jajuminbo", were arrested in Seoul on 23 October 2001 by the South Korean secret service (NIS). Less than one hour after the arrests, twenty government agents burst into the magazine's premises and confiscated computers, cameras and books. "Jajuminbo" is published in Seoul. RSF has been unable to confirm if the secret service men had an arrest warrant at the time of the incident.

Lee, Park and Baek have been accused of violating the National Security Law by "praising" North Korea in the articles and interviews published in the magazine and available on the Internet site www.jajuminbo.com">http://www.jajuminbo.com">www.jajuminbo.com

"Jajuminbo", a far left magazine that was registered with the Minister for Culture and Tourism in May 2000, frequently publishes articles about and interviews with North Korean personalities. The magazine openly supports the Pyongyang regime and the dialogue between the two Koreas. According to an official from the monthly magazine, eleven journalists, most of whom are students, work on a voluntary basis for "Jajuminbo".


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