The government angers the cartoon festival gold prize ‘Yunseok Train’… Noo “Government freedom is nothing but words”

The Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism issued a warning letter stating that it was “contrary to the purpose of the event” in relation to the controversy over the controversial picture that satirizes President Yoon Seok-yeol and his wife at the Korea Comics Festival for teenagers. In addition, the organizers of the cartoon contest decided to take strict measures, arguing that the use of the name of the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism violated the approval requirements. However, another controversy is expected to be inevitable as the government took issue with the criteria for screening contests for creative works and the selection process itself for satirizing the president. The opposition immediately protested that the measures of the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism violated freedom of expression in the Yun Seok-yeol government that emphasized freedom.

In a statement on the controversy on the morning of the 4th, the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism said, “The selection and display of works that explicitly dealt with political topics in the (for middle and high school students) national student comics contest go against the purpose of the event to inspire students’ desire to create cartoons. Because of this, we express our regrets to the Manga Film Promotion Agency and give a strict warning.” The Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism said, “Although the Manga Film Promotion Agency, which hosted the National Student Comics Contest, is a foundation affiliated with Bucheon City, the government budget, which is a national tax, is supported by KRW 10.2 billion, and the contest is being awarded as the Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism Award.” We will strictly monitor the situation and take relevant measures promptly,” he said.

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After that, the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism made a further statement that it was revealed that the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism was in violation of the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism’s approval while holding this contest as a result of examining the contest process. When the Promotion Agency initially requested approval for the use of the sponsored name from the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism △If the applicant for the work is unclear or there is a risk of plagiarism, theft, or copyright infringement △Works that have political intentions or defame others △If the application guidelines (standards, quantity) are not met △ Cases of excessive sexuality and violence were set as disqualifications, but these disqualifications were omitted from the actual competition guidelines and the judges were not notified. The Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism said, “(The Agency has also confirmed that it is not an in-depth review as to whether the controversial award-winning work is an unpublished original work.”) decided to take action.​

The cartoon titled ‘Yunseok Train’ was submitted as part of a national student comic contest hosted by middle and high school students, and won the Gold Award (Gyeonggi Provincial Governor’s Award) in the cartoon category. The painting is a parody of the famous children’s animation ‘Thomas and Friends’, and shows the citizens running away in surprise as a train with the face of President Yoon runs and smokes. In addition, on the driver’s side of the train, there is a figure presumed to be Kim Kun-hee, the wife of President Yoon, and in the rest of the train, people in prosecutor’s suits are standing with swords.

The opposition strongly criticized the response of the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism as a violation of freedom of expression. In addition, Democratic Party lawmaker Jeon Jeon-gi raised his voice on Facebook, saying, “In fact, freedom of expression and freedom of the press are being persecuted.” Justice Party lawmaker Jang Hye-young also helped, saying, “The gold and jade ‘freedom’ of the Yun Seok Passionate government was still just words.”

In this regard, the presidential office said, “We will not take a separate position.” When asked about his position on caricatures at a briefing, an official from the presidential office answered, “If the ministry responded, I hope you will refer to it.”

Reporter Lee Kang-eun [email protected]

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