産経記者判決 無分別な訴追終結を

--The Asahi Shimbun, Dec. 18
EDITORIAL: Seoul should end impudent case against Japanese journalist
(社説)産経記者判決 無分別な訴追終結を

A South Korean court on Dec. 17 acquitted Tatsuya Kato, a former Seoul bureau chief for the Sankei Shimbun, who was indicted on a charge of defaming South Korean President Park Geun-hye.
 韓国大統領の名誉を傷つけたとして起訴された産経新聞の前ソウル支局長に対し、韓国の裁判所が無罪を言い渡した。

The ruling was all too appropriate considering that South Korean law guarantees freedom of speech.
言論の自由を保障した法に照らし、当然の判決である。

It was extraordinary in the first place for prosecutors, who exercise public authority, to indict a journalist just for writing an article that displeased the president.
 そもそも、大統領の気に入らない記事を書いたとしても、検察という公権力が記者を起訴すること自体が異常だった。

The Seoul Central District Court handed down a totally reasonable ruling by saying, “It is clear that freedom of speech should be respected because our nation has adopted a democratic system.”
 「わが国が民主主義制度をとっている以上、言論の自由を重視せねばならないのは明らかだ」とする判決は妥当である。

Prosecutors should swiftly accept the court decision without appealing it.
検察当局は控訴せず、速やかに判決を受け入れるべきだ。

The case concerned an article written by Kato that ran on the Sankei website in August 2014. It referred to a “rumor” that Park was with a former male aide and could not be reached for seven hours on April 16, 2014, the day of the Sewol ferry disaster.
 問題になったのは前支局長が昨年8月、ネット上に出した記事だ。旅客船沈没事故の際、所在不明になった朴槿恵(パククネ)大統領が男性と会っていたのでは、という「うわさ」を紹介した。

The presidential office reacted angrily to the article, pledging to “pursue the responsibility.” Prosecutors then started an investigation into the defamation allegations in response to a criminal complaint filed by a citizen organization and indicted Kato. He was long banned from leaving the country.
 これに大統領府が「責任を追及する」と公然と反発し、市民団体の告発を受ける形で検察が捜査し、起訴した。前支局長は長らく出国を禁じられた。

Under South Korean law, Kato would not have been indicted if President Park, the alleged victim of defamation, had said she didn’t wish for punishment against the Sankei journalist.
 韓国の法律では、被害者の朴氏が処罰を望まないと言えば、訴追は免れた。

But the fact is that the trial following the indictment lasted for as long as 14 months, leading to the Dec. 17 ruling. That leaves little doubt that Park herself wanted to see the journalist prosecuted.
起訴から1年2カ月間公判が続き、判決にまで至ったのは、朴氏自身が訴追を求めたからとみるべきだ。

Didn’t she give any thought to how badly South Korea’s democracy would be damaged by the prosecution of a reporter for a news organization just because of the wishes of the person in power?
 権力者の意向次第で報道機関の記者を訴追することが、韓国の民主主義にどんな禍根を残すか、考えなかったのか。

Unsurprisingly, journalist organizations of not only Japan but also other countries voiced strong concerns about the South Korean government’s legal action against Kato.
 日本のみならず、海外のジャーナリスト団体などからも、韓国政府に対し、強い懸念の声が相次いだのも当然だった。

Before the verdict was read out, the presiding judge revealed that the South Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs had asked the court to give consideration to Japan’s request for “appropriate handling” of the case.
 判決公判の冒頭で裁判長は、「善処」を求める日本の要望を考慮するよう、韓国外交省が裁判所に求めていたことを明らかにした。

It was an unusual move that can be interpreted as an attempt by the South Korean government to end the case, which has further strained bilateral relations and provoked international criticism.
異例の措置であり、韓国政府が日韓関係や国際批判などを考えて自ら決着を図ろうとしたとも受け取れる。

The Park administration should do serious soul-searching on its misguided move to prosecute a case that should never have been brought to court in the first place. By doing so, Seoul unnecessarily created a sticky political issue with serious diplomatic consequences.
 もともと公訴を提起すべきでない問題を、自ら政治問題化してしまった責任を、韓国政府は反省しなくてはならない。

Even without the case, relations between the Japanese and South Korean governments have soured badly in the past few years, casting dark shadows even on grass-roots exchanges between people of the two neighboring countries.
 それでなくとも近年の日韓関係は、政治の関係悪化により、市民交流にも暗い影が落ちている。

Both Tokyo and Seoul should restrain themselves from any action that could generate unnecessary diplomatic friction.
無用ないさかいを生んで外交問題にする振る舞いは、日韓両政府とも慎むべきである。

The court ruling, however, acknowledged that the former Sankei bureau chief was aware that the rumor he wrote about was false.
 一方、判決は記事が取り上げた「うわさ」について、虚偽であることを前支局長は認識していたと認定した。

The defense team stopped denying this allegation during the trial. This means the Sankei cannot claim to have fulfilled its responsibility as a news medium.
産経側も裁判の途中からそれに異を唱えなかった。報道機関としての責任をまっとうしたとは言えまい。

South Korea’s legal action against the Sankei reporter has been a festering sore in the relationship between the country and Japan.
 いずれにせよ、この問題は、日韓間の懸案の一つだったのは間違いない。

This case should be brought to an end quickly so that the two governments can concentrate on diplomatic efforts to resolve really important issues, like the “comfort women.”
一刻も早く終止符を打ち、両政府は慰安婦問題など大きな課題の解決に全神経を注ぐべきである。
[PR]

by kiyoshimat | 2015-12-21 11:26 | 英字新聞

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