The truth concealed behind the 10 year sentence of Jung Myung Seok, Chairman of Christian Gospel Mission (JMS)
<Part One> Falsified News Report by S Broadcasting Station
12 Feb 2010 15:19:16
Last February, the court gave Jung Myung Seok of Christian Gospel Mission (CGM) a severe sentence. Jung has to go to prison for 10 years because of a case that favored ambiguous witness testimonies and evidence. A monthly magazine, Minjeong*, covers the entire story in detail. They ask the question, “Might the judges have failed to discern clearly during the hearing due to their lack of understanding of religion, and due to the public opinion that had forcibly formed?”
(Translator’s note: Minjeong means the civil administration in Korean.)
When considering the evidence and situation, I, the writer, also have a couple of questions about the Justice Department’s verdict.
I also cannot completely agree with the negative views about CGM and Jung because of all the ambiguity. That is one reason I have gone into CGM and have closely observed the organization.
Reporters must hold to the inviolable rule in their profession. The mass media that greatly influences society must especially do its best to promote fairness. The center of mass media are the reporters. If the final step is reporting, the first step is searching and collecting information. The reporters take the lead in that role.
However, if the accuracy of the information collected is compromised in step one, then there is no need to talk about its fairness. That’s why reporters must not break the inviolable rule; they must not just edit and write an article without thoroughly checking the validity of the information.
Reporters in Korea confuse rumor with fact
In 2008, the so-called ‘Na Hoon-a* case’ turned out to be only a rumor. Na Hoon-a opened a press conference and made it clear to reporters that they failed to do their responsibilities. He declared, “The reporters who wrote articles without checking the facts are abettors. And the reporters who did not write a rebuttal article even after seeing the false articles are bystanders.”
(Translator’s note: Na Hoon-a is a famous Korean singer.)
Until now, the press has written many articles criticizing CGM and Jung Myung Seok. But the Justice Department’s verdict makes it difficult to resolve all the questions that people have raised.
For the sake of wondering readers and for my own sake, I am starting this first article as a means of taking one step closer to finding the answer.
Is the report about JMS religious group by S Broadcasting Station true?
In 1999, an incident occurred between Ms. Hwang and CGM members on their way to the Wolmyeongdong Recreation Center. S Broadcasting Station reported it as kidnapping. However, according to the police investigation, it was not kidnapping. Rather, it was a simple assault. Thus, after discovering the truth, Police Journal wrote an article about it being a simple assault case. On the other hand, S Broadcasting Station misreported it as kidnapping.
After that, Jung Myung Seok went on a missionary trip overseas. But S Broadcasting Station reported that the JMS chairman had sexually harassed church members, fled to Hong Kong, and was causing problems even in a foreign country.
Through the broadcasting, they made their claims about Jung seem factual, and other members of the media re-published the claims into articles without checking. However, when analyzing the content S Broadcasting Station aired at that time, you can clearly identify several issues.
The first issue deals with the part of the sermon where Jung had said, “Evangelize one woman,” according to the show.
The segment that S Broadcasting Station aired on TV at that time was a video of a Sunday service that CGM had taken in 1995 about ‘The Life of Thanksgiving.’
The original video said, “Evangelize one person out of ten, which is the tenth of the tithe of life.” However, the show distorted the audio portion for “one…of ten” so that viewers could not hear clearly and added the subtitle, “one woman,” and aired it in this manner.
S Broadcasting Station doctors video to bias pubic perception of Jung Myung Seok
The second issue is the video footage which showed only women surrounded Jung Myung Seok. S broadcast Station extracted a recording of a live service and event and broadcast only a part of the footage. When the court reviewed the original video, both men and women were actually present. However, despite that, the broadcasting company selectively doctored and aired the footage so that it only showed the women.
These two videos are what have given others the false impression that Jung is a religious sect leader who has sexual problems and only deals with women.
The last issue is a claim that JMS is the initials for Jung Myung Seok’s name. However, CGM has not used JMS as their official name even once. And at the time of covering CGM’s story, their official name was International Christian Association.
Actually, the initials, JMS, are an abbreviation of Jesus Morning Star, and it comes from Revelation 22:16. “I, Jesus, have sent my angel to give you this testimony for the churches. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, and the bright Morning Star.” In order to make their life of faith into a culture that is centered on Jesus, the Savior, CGM members used the term JMS informally between the members.
Court supports CGM and Jung Myung Seok against S Broadcasting Station
S Broadcasting Station continued to air the biased report about CGM. So the court adjudicated reconciliation in the following manner:
- Any report or information that is unilaterally from Kim and others must not be aired.
- Must notify all pertinent parties 48 hours before airing any related material.
- Reserve 5% of airtime for rebuttal purposes.
- Violation of these rules will result in a penalty of $30,000 dollars per instance.
Though CGM expected this ruling, since the show had already aired on TV, the people who watched it still believed what they had seen. In addition, the members of CGM had to now guard their lives along with their faith while bearing the aftereffects.
Fortunately, audience and readers nowadays are not easily swayed by what the media shows. They already know the ins and outs of the media. Therefore, the public opinion about CGM and Jung Myung Seok has started to lend its ears to the truth.
It seems that Na Hoon-a’s retort might have pierced reporters deeply. Since then, reporters have been producing reports based on facts and truth rather than those that are biased and manipulative.
I wrap up part one with hopes that smarter public opinion will resolve egregiousness and injustice.