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Wednesday, November 08, 2006

"PD Memo" team tells more about the Hwang case

The team of the PD Memo program of MBC received pressure from a former government minister not to air the program in which it was to be stated that Hwang Woo-suk did not have any stem cells, the recently published book based on the PD Memo's investigation (article in Pressian).

The producer Han Hak-su tells in the book that in the evening of the 3rd of December, when the team was preparing the program about the existence of the stemm cells, Choi Seung-ho, the head of PD Memo's investigation team, met a former government minister, who asked them not to broadcast the segment, "even if there were no stemm cells." He claimed that he was not representing the presidential office (Blue House, Chongwadae). The person asked to think of Dr Hwang as "something like a father who has raised a family in difficult circumstances, so even if the father had done something wrong, would the PD Memo's claims be credible?" The person also mentioned the confusion the revelations would cause to the populace.

As Choi, the head of team, refused the requests, the former minister referred to the problems in investigation ethics that YTN was going to broadcast a program about the very next day. Choi admitted that some of their wordings may have been excessive, but they were not legally troubling and were neither related to the main issue. Still, the person insisted that there were going to be problems concerning the issue of investigation ethics.

Interesting and important issues that arise from these pieces of info are the facts that the person was already aware of the forthcoming contents of both the PD Memo program on stem cells and the YTN program on PD Memo's investigation ethics. The person - and those behind him - had been informed about the conclusion that the stem cells did not exist either by governmental intelligence gathering (NIS, Kukka Chôngbowon) or directly by MBC itself. Further, the Pressian article points out the possibility that YTN was doing its own program that questioned the credibility of PD Memo by a request from the government. (It was pointed out already at the height of the scandal that there was a high likelihood that the government authorities had pressured MBC and PD Memo in the matter; Pressian article from Dec 17, 2005.)

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