|The intention of this law is to root out bribing in our society|
Starting this September 28, the Kim Young-Ran Law which is commonly known as the Anti-corruption/Anti-Graft Law will be implemented here in Korea. Kim Young-Ran law was named after the former Chair of the Anti-Corruption and Civil Rights Commission. Implementation of the Kim Young-Ran Law was first proposed in 2012 to eradicate corruption scandals. However it took more than 4 years to pass the law due to debates and obstacles of the vagueness of the law and its scope but has managed to be passed by the National Assembly last year in March. One of the greatest accelerating factors of passing this law was the Sewol ferry disaster. Lawmakers began to think that the accident resulting in hundreds of casualties occurred due to corruption among public officials. This law is expected to have immediate effects over journalists, reporters and teachers including their spouses but mostly on companies and government officials to root out any possibilities of bribing and to cure the ills of a deeply corrupted Korean society. However, Kim Young-ran Law is not the first try to fix the transparency of our society. Some laws such as officials treating themselves to meals over 500,000won was already prohibited but failed in a short period of time.
The introduction of this law will make public officials inform on any person making any corrupt requests and to clearly decline those requests. The Kim Young-Ran Act also restricts compensation for lectures related to seminars, negotiations and promotions. Under the law, people who receive meals of 30,000 won or higher may receive criminal penalties and can be fined, while condolence or congratulatory money must be less than 100,000 won including entertainment such as paid vacation or expensive meals and rounds of golf. Ironically, the Kim Young-ran Law does not apply to lawmakers, civic groups, bankers, and some politicians, therefore raising voices to amend the law for its fairness and transparency because some of the worst bribing comes from those kinds of people.
Teachers are also delivering petitions because they think applying this law to teachers is an infringement to their freedom of press. “Education and media have great influence over the country and society, and their corruption has serious implications, causing widespread, long-term damage, while recovery is impossible or nearly impossible,” the court said. “Journalists and private school teachers are required to have the transparency and impossibility of influence-buying equal to that of civil servants. Only then will education give righteous values and a sense of community to students and the press can make accurate reports and monitor all powerful people in politics, the economy and society.” Besides, teachers filed grievance because they will be doubly punished if they get caught bribing by former law and the Kim Young-ran Law.
Moreover, economists believe that the Kim Young-ran Law will boost the economy to a greater extent compared to any other policy. Hyundai Research Institute suggests that corruption of our country has been identified as one of the biggest factors which slowed the growth of economy. Implementing the Kim Young-ran Law will increase GDP capita by 136.5 dollars while some economists suggest that it will bring the economy down.
Even though the law is made for a good purpose and is there to try to take up the slack, the law will need gradual amendments for its equality for everyone.
By Jeong Seung-in, reporter firstname.lastname@example.org
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