Samsung Sues Columnist Over Lampoon

We have been following the lawsuit (now dropped) against a writer in England by the British Chiropractic Association (BCA) for his criticism of their profession. Now, Samsung is suing a columnist for making from of its executives, who have been involved in a series of criminal cases and controversies. Michael Breen with the Korea Times is being sued for defamation for a parody by the electronic giant. The company is pursuing both civil and criminal charges against Breen — a move that seems to struggle to confirm the arrogance and heavy-handedness alleged in the column.

Breen wrote a column on Christmas Day 2009 entitled ‘What People Got for Christmas,” making fun of the company for past bribery scandals. Samsung Chairman Lee Kun-hee was to receive a pardon for a 2008 conviction for tax evasion. He was previously pardoned in the 1990s for bribing two former presidents.

Samsung officials are viewed as untouchable or, as described in the article below, effective royalty. While the paper ran two corrections (including one reportedly written by the company), it is still pursuing the columnist.

Companies like Samsung are called chaebols and their executives are treated as part of a different class.

The lawsuit shows the pressures and vulnerabilities of journalists in other countries. Breen should receive the international support of journalists and civil libertarians around the world. Perhaps this L.A. Times article will help bring greater attention to his plight. It attacks on this columnist make you wonder what Samsung means by its new motto: “Inspire the World, Change the Future.”

For the full story, click here.

8 thoughts on “Samsung Sues Columnist Over Lampoon”

  1. O fo A and BIL,

    And those defamation laws work as “Food Inc” makes clear. The difference between Oprah and everybody else is that Oprah had a million dollars to defend herself and other people don’t.

    Monsanto has now taken it a step farther. There are people that cater to ‘seed savers’, those farmers that save their own seed to replant next year. You call a guy that has as his business the winnowing of seed from chaff and he winnows your seed to save and you pay him. Monsanto has gone after the seed winnowers and put them out of business as being partners in the crime of violating their copyright protection even if their participation is unknowing. Like someone in the movie says “Monsanto owns the soy bean.” He doesn’t mean ‘this’ or ‘my’ soy bean, he means ‘THE’ soy bean as a plant species.

    They have also sued farmers whose fields/crops were contaminated by pollen from neighboring farms that used their seeds and won. This in areas where the farms are so large that pollen hangs and floats in the air like dust clouds and it’s impossible to prevent cross-pollination.

    Big agra is scary and ruthless. The hijacking of the food supply by a hand-full of producers is a story that get no play though it should. If you haven’t seen “Food Inc” you should; you’ll never buy ground beef again and you’ll be better off for it.

    It will also explain the exodus of Mexican farmers into the US after NAFTA, an aspect of the immigration problem that is such a hot topic now. NAFTA and big agra is an easy connect-the-dots to Arizona’s new law. There have been other documentaries about big agra as it relates to the meat industry but “Food Inc.” pulls it all together in one place very well.

  2. Ask Oprah about laws defaming agricultural products – Remember she was sued by the Texas Cattlemen’s association for defaming beef products back in 2006. Rational heads prevailed (in Texas, no less!) and she was acquitted, but it just shows that laws prohibiting defamatory speech are alive and well – at least still on the books – in parts of our great land.

  3. I believe there some state laws like this in the midwest where criticizing agribusiness such that it is detrimental to the economy (I forget the exact wording) is punishable by law.

    “Companies like Samsung are called chaebols and their executives are treated as part of a different class. ”

    See? South Koreans and us are not so different!

  4. This is an example of what we can expect here in the US when corporations have the rights of persons. I am still waiting for the court to give human persons the same bankruptcy rules as corporations.

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