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(LEAD) Culture ministry to request prosecution probe into 7 officials over blacklisting of artists

2018/09/13 11:06

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(ATTN: UPDATES with minor edits throughout; ADDS photo)

By Shim Sun-ah

SEOUL, Sept. 13 (Yonhap) -- The culture ministry said Thursday it will refer seven former and current officials to the prosecution for investigation over their alleged involvement in the past two conservative administrations' blacklisting of artists.

They are among the 131 officials against whom a civilian-government inquiry team recommended criminal investigations or disciplinary measures in June.

Of the seven, one was already accused by a relevant cultural-arts group, while two others worked for two different public institutions affiliated with the culture ministry.

Nearly 9,300 artists or groups were unjustly excluded from state support programs or even illegally inspected for being critical of the two former governments led by President Lee Myung-bak and his predecessor Park Geun-hye from 2008 to 2016, the committee said wrapping up a 10-month-long probe. Among them were many of the country's best-known film directors, novelists and poets.

Hwang Seong-un, spokesman for the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, announces the ministry's plan to implement a recommendation from a civilian-government inquiry team over the two former governments' blacklisting of artists deemed unfriendly to them at the Central Government Complex in Seoul on Sept. 13, 2018. (Yonhap) Hwang Seong-un, spokesman for the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, announces the ministry's plan to implement a recommendation from a civilian-government inquiry team over the two former governments' blacklisting of artists deemed unfriendly to them at the Central Government Complex in Seoul on Sept. 13, 2018. (Yonhap)

The ministry said it will report the six to the prosecution right after announcing its plan to carry out the recommendation.

In addition, a cautionary measure will be taken against 12 other incumbent ministry officials and 22 lower-level officials will be excluded from their work that is related to the blacklisting.

The latest measure will increase to 48 the total number of former and current ministry officials against whom any measures were taken concerning the blacklisting scandal, the ministry said.

The blacklisting was a key element in the corruption scandal that led to Park's impeachment in December and formal removal from office by the Constitutional Court in March.

sshim@yna.co.kr

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