NYT Ad Accuses Korean Gov't of Incompetence, Censorship

A full-page ad in the New York Times on Sunday denounced the Korean government's handling of the ferry disaster last month.

The black-and-white ad was paid for by a group of Korean Americans and appeared on page 19 of the daily under the headline "BRING THE TRUTH TO LIGHT" with the subtitle "Why are Koreans outraged by President Park Geun-hye?"

"The South Korean government lacked adequate emergency protocols and proper communication between agencies," the ad alleges.

"They rejected outside help -- from expert civilian divers and the U.S. Navy -- and gave rescue rights to a private company in which the government is a major shareholder," it goes on to say.

"Criticism of President Park's handling of the ferry disaster is being silenced by government censorship of South Korea's mainstream media."

While the first allegation is broadly true, the other two seem fanciful.

The ruling Saenuri Party suspects a plot. "I'm very much concerned about mudslinging even in the foreign media at a serious time like this when I hear about some people here who are spouting political propaganda and attempting to turn the tragedy to their political advantage," party chairman Hwang Woo-yea said.

The ad was crowdfunded by a Korean American woman who late last month posted a message on Missy USA, a popular online forum for immigrant Korean women, saying, "Let's place an ad in the New York Times to press charges against the South Korean government for its incompetence and media control."

The website was the first to reveal the molestation charges against Park's then-spokesman Yoon Chang-jung during her visit to Washington.

But not everyone was in favor of the ad. "It'll boomerang on us, if we blame the South Korean government during a national disaster," one dissenter wrote. But others accused her of being a mole of the Korean government.

englishnews@chosun.com / May 13, 2014 12:21 KST