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(2nd LD) Court allows partial airing of Yoon's wife's phone calls

19:02 January 14, 2022

(ATTN: UPDATES with details in paras 2-8; RECASTS headline, lead)

SEOUL, Jan. 14 (Yonhap) -- A court on Friday decided to allow a local TV station to broadcast parts of the main opposition presidential candidate's wife's phone calls, while other parts will be banned.

Kim Keon-hee, the wife of Yoon Suk-yeol, earlier filed an injunction to stop MBC from airing recordings of her phone conversations with a staff member of the YouTube channel Voice of Seoul last year. The broadcast was set for Sunday.

The Seoul Western District Court, which deliberated on the arguments of both sides earlier in the day, said it has made the decision in consideration of Kim's on-going investigation.

Kim is currently under investigation in connection with a stock manipulation case surrounding Deutsch Motors Inc., a BMW car dealer in South Korea.

"If (Kim) undergoes an investigation or probe in the future, the broadcast could significantly infringe on her right to refuse to make statements, which is guaranteed under the criminal procedure," the court said in a statement.

But the court also noted that as Kim is considered a public figure, the broadcast of parts of the recording falls in line with the common good.

The court did not provide details on which parts of the recording were banned from being aired.

The recordings, running some seven hours, reportedly contain criticism of the Moon Jae-in government and remarks on some politically sensitive issues.

Kim's side has argued the airing would be illegal, because the phone conversations were private, while MBC has retorted the broadcasting will serve the public interest and help voters evaluate the wife of a major presidential candidate.

Kim previously came under fire for allegedly falsifying her credentials on job applications and issued a public apology at the party's headquarters.

This photo, provided by the National Assembly Press Corps, shows lawmakers of the People Power Party visiting the MBC broadcasting firm on Jan. 14, 2022, in protest against its planned airing of the recordings of phone calls between the wife of the party's presidential candidate, Yoon Suk-yeol, and a reporter. (Yonhap)


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