NewDaily Biz, the conservative online newspaper notorious for its top executive’s attempts at ingratiation with Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd., has recently shown that it would enthusiastically kowtow to the world’s largest company at the expense of the ongoing personal distress of a Samsung-cluster victim and the integrity of SHARPS.
Rescue My Daughter?
On July 15, NewDaily Biz ran an interview with the father of a cluster victim, whom staff writer Choi Jong-hee quoted as crying: “Rescue my daughter held hostage [by SHARPS].” SHARPS has profiled and been representing the victim (her name is withheld at her request to protect her privacy), diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 2008 after working in a Samsung LCD lab in 2003-5. The victim, now in her late twenties, had severed ties with her father when she was a teenager, before her employment with Samsung, for personal reasons.
At the victim’s request, they do not disclose to her father her whereabouts or other private information while SHARPS activists have, on a number of different occasions, provided consultation and advice to her parents.
The following day, on July 16, Lim Ja-woon, SHARPS’ legal counsel, and Lee Jong-ran, its labor attorney, met with the victim’s father and reporter Choi. The father said he did not mean to describe his daughter as hostage and was quoted out of context. Reporter Choi did not counter or object to the father’s claim.
SHARPS demanded Choi to take down the article. Instead of giving a direct answer, in an email he sent to SHARPS’s Lim, the reporter said he recorded all defamatory remarks made against him during the meeting as he felt insulted.
It is well known that the newspaper’s editorial leadership and management remain subservient to Samsung, which controls about 14.4 percent of South Korea’s advertisement with annual spending of KRW 2.8 trillion (U$2.5 billion).
On April 18, 2014, NewsDaily Biz Representative Director and Editor-in-Chief Park Jung-kyu took down a review of Another Promise, a crowd-funded feature film based on the story of a SHARPS founder and the father of the first known cluster victim, Hwang Sang-ki.
In a text message to a Samsung PR executive, Park said he learned that the executive was upset by the article on the movie and went on saying, “I immediately found out about what happened and immediately had it removed under my watch.” After using the word “immediately” twice in a sentence, the top editor went on saying. “There was no particular intention, as it was written by a columnist.”
He concluded the text, expressing “deep and deep” gratitude. Park remains Representative Director while his publication and reporters appear to be held hostage by Samsung.
SHARPS’s Sit-in Continues
Since Oct. 7, 2015, SHARPS and its supporters have been staging a sit-in at Samsung D’light, the company’s so-called global exhibition space in south Seoul, calling for the world’s largest technology company to:
1) institute a permanent, independently verifiable safety program;
2) compensate all victims of occupational disease transparently and sufficiently; and
3) make a sincere and full apology.