Cheong Wa Dae blacklisted 9,473 artists who have expressed opposition to government policies or supported opposition politicians, and ordered related state agencies to disadvantage them in providing financial or other support, a local daily reported, Tuesday.
The report backs rumors about such a list, which have been prevalent in the art community here, as there have been cases of some artists or well-made art pieces being excluded from government support or competitions without clear reasons.
"Last May, I heard from officials at the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism that the so-called blacklist came from Cheong Wa Dae, and they have no choice but to follow the direction," the Hankook Ilbo, the sister paper of The Korea Times, quoted a source as saying.
The blacklist, which the source handed over to the newspaper, includes 594 artists who opposed a government enforcement ordinance about the Sewol ferry disaster, 754 authors who signed their names on a statement calling for the government to take responsibility for the disaster, 6,517 artists who declared their support for then opposition candidate Moon Jae-in during the 2012 presidential election and 1,608 artists who supported Seoul Mayor Park Won-soon during the 2014 mayoral election. Both Moon and Park are leading presidential candidates.
Famous movie directors Park Chan-wook and Kim Jee-woon as well as actress Kim Hye-soo and literary critic Hwang Hyun-san are on the list.
Poet-turned-lawmaker Do Jong-hwan of the main opposition Minjoo Party of Korea (MPK) also raised the issue during the Assembly audit, Monday, citing meeting minutes of the Arts Council Korea (ACK), an organization under the culture ministry dedicated to supporting artists.
In the minutes on May 29, 2015, then-ACK head Kwon Young-bin said, "It's hard to say… but we can't make decisions on our own."
Renowned theater director Park Geun-hyung had to give up a subsidy from ACK due to unclear pressure last year for his drama titled "All Soldiers are Pitiful," even though the ACK previously selected the drama, according to Do. In his previous play titled "Frog" in 2013, he criticized Park Chung Hee, President Park Geun-hye's father.
It is also suspected the government made another blacklist for teachers. On Monday, Do said two elementary school teachers, who signed up to oppose the government-authored history textbooks, were suddenly eliminated from overseas training opportunities.
The Ministry of Education canceled the participants citing an internal rule which reads, "people who raise social problems due to political activities or media reports may be eliminated from receiving government awards."
Have you ever been under the rule of a dictator, Omona?