Unbelievable things are happening. A series of incidents occurred in Dongguk recently remind of what happened in 1980s in Korea. It is highly regrettable that these shameful things could happen in 21st century at Dongguk University, whose alumni played a great role of democracy pioneer in an era of dictatorship.
On March 21st, reporters of Dongdaeshinmun, a newspaper of Dongguk University, was preparing for their 1561st issue which was expected to be published on March 23rd. However, the reporters could not make it because the managing director at that time, Kim Kwan-kyu, who is also a professor of Department of Mass Communication and Journalism, declared a stoppage of publication. The reason was that some of the articles related to the president election were not neutral and appropriate.
A day before Dongdaeshinmun’s stoppage, independent media at Dongguk, and Apdamhwa’s newsstands at Hyehwa Hall were gone without any notice beforehand. The school removed the newsstands under the name of making clean campus. School said that it is illegal to distribute printed materials because they did not get authorized by the Student Service Team. According to the article eight of Student Regulation of Dongguk University, when students or student autonomous communities try to publish periodic or unperiodic publications and distribute them, they need to have a prior consultation with Student Service Team.
However, whatever the reasons would be, it can be concluded that the above stories at Dongguk are all about invasion of editorial rights, in a broader spectrum, a suppression of media. Moreover, Student Regulation, the reason of removing the newsstands that school suggested to and Apdamhwa, is a by-product during the presidency of Park Chung-hee. A rule that was made more than 30 years ago to make people sightless is still straining students’ free will of writing. It seems that democratic clock at Dongguk is going backwards. Everybody would know that the Constitution of the Republic of Korea, which can never be infringed by any other laws or rules, guarantees a freedom of speech. Is the school an extraterritorial area?
In somebody’s eyes, student press in universities may seem so immature that faculties have to suggest the way that articles are written, even change or kill them if needed. However, needless to say, this imperfection should not be an excuse of school’s hinderance to student reporters who are really devoted to revealing the dark and hidden truth in Dongguk University nowadays.
Please do not cover the sky with your hands. Please keep your eyes and ears open to what students are appealing. Please try to listen to what reporters are saying.
Kim You-jeong firstname.lastname@example.org
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