Thursday, June 26, 2008

[The Hankyoreh, June 19 2008] [Editorial] The consequences of extinguishing the candles

The candlelight protests are being pummeled simultaneously by the conservative media, conservative commentators and the government. The conservative media, sometimes called “ChoJoongDong,” an acronym that refers to the Chosun Ilbo, JoongAng Ilbo and Dong-a Ilbo, fired the opening salvo. In the past few days, they have accused the candle-bearing protesters of losing the purity of their original intention because they have shifted the focus of the protests beyond the original goal of opposing the resumption of U.S. beef imports. The candlelight protests now encompass the Grand Korean Waterway project and defense of state-run broadcasters.

Meanwhile, President Lee Myung-bak, who has in the past shown some restraint on the issue, joined the “candle bashing” indirectly when he said, “The Internet needs to be a place of trust. The strength of the Internet can be poisonous instead of medicinal if people can’t have faith in it.” In addition, right-wing journalist Jo Gap-je and novelist Lee Moon-yeol have been instigating the conservative forces to form an “anti-candle army in the name of justice.” How irresponsible they are.

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