A group of TV celebrities filed a complaint against former Presidents Lee Myung-bak and Park Geun-hye Monday asking for a prosecution investigation into allegations the state intelligence agency created a blacklist of personalities critical of the administrations and sought to oust them from the industry.
Lawyers representing the five celebrities, including actor Moon Sung-keun and comedian Kim Mi-hwa, filed the complaint with the Seoul Central District Prosecutors' Office against eight people, including the former presidents, Lee's intelligence chief Won Sei-hoon, and Park's chief of staff Kim Ki-choon.
The move comes after a task force of the National Intelligence Service announced earlier this month that the agency under Lee was suspected of creating a blacklist of left-leaning cultural figures to disadvantage them in various ways.
The list had 82 names, including comedians, novelists, actors, movie directors and singers. The NIS task force requested the prosecution look into the suspicions. A similar blacklisting happened under Lee's successor, Park Geun-hye, who was removed from office earlier this year for corruption before her term ended.
Actor Moon Sung-keun, one of the celebrities blacklisted under the administration of former President Lee Myung-bak. (Yonhap file photo)Actor Moon Sung-keun, one of the celebrities blacklisted under the administration of former President Lee Myung-bak. (Yonhap file photo)
"The Lee Myung-bak administration drew up a blacklist of 80 people through the NIS and sought their ouster through the exclusion of certain celebrities from TV programs, scrapping of programs and tax audits of management agencies they belonged to," Kim Jin-hyung, one of the lawyers representing the celebrities, said during a press conference in front of the prosecutors' office.
"This is a case that damaged the foundation of the country and the fundamentals of democracy, caused freedom of expression to shrink greatly and infringed upon basic rights," the lawyer said. "There should be a through investigation if truth is to be uncovered. We're going to be asking for a ban on those involved from leaving the country."(Yonhap News)