Jeong Gyeong News Article (Korea’s equivalent of The Economist Magazine): “All Previous Cases Related to JMS Religious Organization’s Founder, Jung Myung Seok, Dismissed Without Charge.”
The following is an article on Jung Myung Seok from a news magazine titled, “Sincerity moves the heart of Heaven; Truth will eventually surface.”
From January of last year, the case involving the religious organization referred to as JMS (Official name: Christian Gospel Mission) attracted a lot of attention through the media and the case finally concluded at the end of October.
Some of the people related to the case were acquitted by the court after investigation. Hereby, the founder, Jung Myung Seok, was cleared from all accusations and the press itself. The press, found to have fabricated contents in the media without confirming the facts, became the target of criticism.
Jung Myung Seok is now in prison serving a 10-year service he received in 2009 for the same charges that he was previously cleared of. Thus, I wanted to look further into the full story disclosed in last June’s issue, which also reported that he was unjustly tried due to negative media. In the report, Jung Myung Seok is quoted as saying, “I will leave the judgment of the truth to God and walk the path of the cross.”
Written by Kim Ayung reporter firstname.lastname@example.org
Who is the victim?
There are three characteristics that closely resemble the handling of both the past and the present case of Jung Myung Seok. First, the issue was dispersed by the Internet and media, and thus became well-known to the public. Second, allegations without proof were made. Third, it was found that anti-JMS organizations, which incite former members to attack Jung, had then asked Jung for money to drop their allegations.
Since last November, organizations against Jung Myung Soek such as ‘Anti-JMS’ demanded money for compensation and attacked Jung with charges like sexual assault, terrorism, and other misdemeanors. Many people appeared on the media and internet which brought on more negative publicity. Lawsuits, charges, and appeals followed. Yet, there was no evidence. Despite the lack of evidence to prove if the accusations were true or not, sensational and suggestive material significantly encouraged speculation among the online viewers.
Jung Myung Seok was in a disadvantageous position because he was already being held in prison on charges of sexual assault. However, his religious organization, Christian Gospel Mission, responded promptly to the media and made their claims. About ten investigations, which began last June and ended in October, all concluded with a verdict of not guilty. This weakened the ‘Anti-JMS’ group’s statements about being harmed by Jung, and caused Anti-JMS to disperse as a result of differences among its members.
In the past, a similar issues had been brought up in court. However, the decision of the court in this later trial resulted in a guilty sentence, totally opposite than the decisions in favor of Jung Myung Seok in previous cases. This was a result of the negative broadcasts by media and ill reputation on the Internet built against Jung for the past ten years. He had already been labeled as a criminal by public opinion. On February 5th, 2008, five women charged Jung with sexual abuse and a trial ensued. At the time, CGM was unable to respond effectively. As expected, there was no evidence. One of those women admitted to fraud and even dropped her charge. Despite all of this, Jung was sentenced to ten years imprisonment on the charges of sexual assault, sexual harassment, and other crimes from the remaining 4 women.
The media broadcasts and internet news articles had eroded Jung Myung Seok’s reputation concerning the JMS case over the span of 1999 to 2004. In a “recommendation for compromise,” the court found guilty one of the broadcast companies which issued these broadcasts, and deemed the case as defamation. The 2005 trial concluded that the news broadcast company should pay compensatory damages to CGM in 2010. According to this judgment, CGM received 90 million Won.
Court Judgments On News Broadcast Company’s defamation of Jung Myung Seok
The distorted premises aired by the broadcast are quoted by the “recommendation for compromise” and are listed as follows:
First, the broadcast intended to depict Jung Myung Seok as a ‘leader who has sexual problems.’ The broadcast edited his voice and put false subtitles on the contents of a Sunday message, “Lifestyle of Thanksgiving” in 1995. The voice was altered beyond comprehension and the subtitle was edited to reflect the media’s false impression as, ‘Evangelize one woman each.’ The actual sermon content was about ‘Evangelizing one out of ten,’ to imply that even a tithe in evangelism should be offered.
[*Translator’s note: phonetical Korean:1 out of 10- yeul-ui hana”열의 하나”/1 woman- yeo-ja hana”여자 하나”]
Second, at an event where male and female members had been grouped separately, the broadcasters edited a video of the event to make it look as if there were only female members so that viewers might feel that Jung Myung Seok only interacts with women.
Third, the broadcast intended to give the impression that members believe in and treat Jung Myung Seok like a god. Members usually use ‘JMS’ to stand for ‘Jesus Morning Star.’ The broadcast aired as if JMS are the initials of Jung’s name and the name of his religious movement’s name. However in reality, the organization has never officially used JMS as their name. The term ‘Providence’ is used among members, while ‘Christian Gospel Mission’ is being used as the official name of the organization.
Fourth, the broadcasters described Wolmyeongdong as a closed space where suspicious ceremonies of sexual assaults happen. Wolmeongdong, however, is open to all people and is a place where the local residents, neighboring Daedun mountain climbers, and foreign tourists come and go freely.
Fifth, they aired that Jung Myung Seok sexually assaulted other people in his travels abroad and edited dialogue from an interview taken during the Taiwanese prosecution. The broadcast translated the dialogue, “It’s hard to say right now but, we’ve got some statements by victims.” The Taiwanese prosecution, however, never used the word “victim.” The Taiwanese prosecution used the word ‘people involved.’ However, the broadcasters translated that word as ‘victims’ and falsely created the pretense that the Taiwanese prosecution might have been suspicious about Jung’s guilt. The Taiwanese case concluded that a violation of freedom from suspicion had taken place. This resulted in a public apology from the informant, who spread the falsified facts to the press, being published in the newspapers.
The court made several rulings in the case of the distorted reporting by Kim Do-hun (alias) and Kim Hyung-su (alias): “Do not air Kim do-hun and Kim hyung-su’s report again, give 48 hours notice to CGM before a report about Providence is broadcasted, guarantee five percent of the reporting time to Providence to defend their side of the story, and whenever these rules are broken, they must pay 30 million Won to Providence.”
Other distorted press and baseless accusations on Jung Myung Seok
The contents of this judgment, however, were not widely known. More distorted press reports and accusations without evidence from other media outlets have been pointed out but no other trials have taken place.
The Press revealed that an anti-JMS organization were pushing the alleged victims to make their accusation against Jung Myung Seok and the press even released letters showing that one anti-JMS leader had requested extortion money from Jung.
To read the Chinese translation of this article visit http://tw.providencetrial.com/mjknews-2012-12/
To download a PDF of the original article in Korean visit http://providencetrial.com/wp-content/uploads/ptrial-articles/newsarticle.pdf
Click here for the timeline of news releases about Pastor Joshua Jung Myung Seok concerning the religious injustice he has been facing for almost 20 years.