Nation Cannot be Subject of Libel Suit
By Kwon Mee-yoo
The human rights commission concluded that the nation cannot be the subject of a libel suit.
In September of 2009, the National Intelligence Service (NIS) filed a defamation suit against human rights lawyer, Park Won-soon for damaging the reputation of the “state,” making the nation the plaintiff.
The National Human Rights Commission of Korea (NHRCK) reached a conclusion that the state cannot be defamed and be the main body of a libel case in an inside report, Sunday.
The NHRCK is going to confirm whether to accept this as its official opinion and report their final decision to the Seoul Central District Court, where the case is pending, through a committee scheduled today.
The NHRCK investigated the case since it was considered a critical issue dealing with the freedom of expression.
The report is said to include the fact that there were no lawsuits where the state was a plaintiff or a defendant of a case in other countries such as the Unites States, the United Kingdom or South Africa.
There were cases that had been filed by public institutions such as municipal governments, but those were ruled as not proper to raise a suit with tax money.
However, the commission declined to disclose the report as it is not an official guideline yet.
Park, the executive director of the Hope Institute, a private think tank, through an interview in June 2009, claimed that the NIS investigated civil organizations without permission. He also said the NIS pressured corporations not to fund civic groups and cut subsidies for the projects of public interest of such organizations.
The NIS filed the libel suit against Park seeing for 200 million won in compensation.