Freedom of Information Smacked Cont’d

Quick addendum to my earlier post about restrictions on the free flow of information.

Found an economic report hosted on the Research Division of the Federal Reserve in St. Louis very relevant to the anti-defamation law discussion:

The analysis focuses on the design of a legal framework for the press such that corruption is minimized.

I find that an antidefamation law punishing media that publish false scandals reduces corruption only if

    1. the punishment for the defamer is large enough to deter the publication of some true scandals and
    2. the electorate can punish the politician when no scandal is published.

In other words, anti-defamation laws can work if the system already holds politicians accountable, but the downside is that any law that strict means at least some true scandals end up going unreported.

Of course, this assumes the anti-defamation laws only apply to false scandals, whereas in Korea even factually true statements can land you in court.

And holding politicians accountable?  Here’s what the Korea Herald has to say about the prospects of the latest sex-for-favors scandal:

Kwon had testified that Yoon hired women to provide sexual services for influential figures from a wide range of fields at his luxury country home in Wonju between 2008 and 2012, and that he filmed the scenes and kept the video footage as blackmail…

But it so far remains unclear whether and how the involved parties will be prosecuted. It is generally considered difficult for suspects to face criminal charges for simply appearing in a video as it is difficult to prove the connection between the sexual services and compensation. To be prosecuted, clear evidence of lobbying and exchanging money in return for sex are required.

When witness testimony backed by video footage is not enough to prosecute a politician, that’s not a “developed nation,” that’s a banana republic.

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