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 System
12 Feb 2012 15:19:16
Last February, Chairman Jung Myung Seok of Christian Gospel Mission (CGM) received a severe sentence: 10 years in a case where both the witnesses and evidence were ambiguous. In addition, a monthly magazine, Minjeong*, covered the entire story in detail, questioning, “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 verdict given by the Justice Department.
Additionally, with regards to the negative view about CGM and Chairman Jung, I cannot completely agree with it, as there is too much ambiguity. The reason is that 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. It is because if the final step is reporting, the first step is searching and collecting information, and 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.
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 the reporters who had not fulfilled their responsibilities, declaring, “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, there have been articles written elsewhere in the press, criticizing CGM and Chairman Jung, and the verdict made by the Justice Department makes it difficult to resolve all the questions that have been raised.
For the sake of the readers and for my own sake, as the writer, who are wondering, 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 System true?
In 1999, an incident occurred between Ms. Hwang and CGM members on their way to the Wolmyeongdong retreat center, and S Broadcasting System reported it as ‘kidnapping.’ However, according to the police investigation, it was not ‘kidnapping’ but rather, a ‘simple assault.’ Thus, after discovering the truth, Police Journal wrote an article about it being a simple assault case, where as S Broadcasting System had misreported it as ‘kidnapping.’
After that, Chairman Jung went on a missionary trip overseas, but S Broadcasting System gave a news report 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 Chairman Jung seem factual, and other members of the media re-published the claims into articles without checking. However, when analyzing the content of the show that was aired at that time, there are several issues that can be clearly identified.
The first issue deals with the part of the sermon where Chairman Jung had said, “Evangelize one woman,” according to the show.
The segment that was aired on TV at that time was the 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 it could not be heard clearly and added the subtitle, “one woman” and aired it in this manner.
The second issue is the video footage which showed that Chairman Jung was surrounded by only women. The broadcasted scene was extracted from the recording of a live service and event. When the original video was reviewed, 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 Chairman Jung’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.
▲The document recommending reconciliation that the court adjudicated
The biased report about CGM by S Broadcasting System continued to be aired, 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 this ruling was expected, 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, nowadays, audience and readers are not easily swayed by what the media show since they know the ins and outs of the media. Therefore, the public opinion about CGM and Chairman Jung has started to lend its ears to the truth.
It seems that reporters might have been pierced by Na Hoon-a’s retortion, and since then, they have been producing reports that are based on facts and truth rather than those that are biased and manipulative.
I wrap up part one with hopes that egregiousness and injustice will be resolved through a smarter public opinion.
The english translation and pictures are released for public use under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License.