Go content.

What's new?

More severe punishment to be imposed on acts of revealing the identity of corruption reporters

Date
07-02-2020
Attachments
 

More severe punishment to be imposed on acts of revealing the identity of corruption reporters

- The sentence will be increased to ‘imprisonment of not more than five years or a fine not exceeding 50M won’ to be equal to that imposed in the case of disclosure of identity of a public interest reporter -

- The revised ‘Act on the Prevention of Corruption and the Establishment and Management of Anti-Corruption and Civil Rights Commission’ will come into force from June 11 -

 

 

January 20, 2020

Anti-Corruption and Civil Rights Commission

The Republic of Korea

From June 11 this year, if anyone discloses the identity of those reporting an act of corruption in the public sector without their consent, he/she will be as equally punished as those who reveal the identity of persons reporting public interest violations by ‘imprisonment of not more than five years or a fine of up to 50 million won.’*

* Pre-amendment: imprisonment of not more than three years or a fine of up to 30 million won.

As the Anti-Corruption and Civil Rights Commission (ACRC, Chairperson Pak Un Jong) revised the Act on the Prevention of Corruption and the Establishment and Management of the Anti-Corruption and Civil Rights Commission (hereinafter referred to as the Anti-Corruption Act) in April and December last year, it enhanced the level of protection of corruption reporters to that of public interest reporters prescribed under the Public Interest Reporter Protection Act.

The revised Anti-Corruption Act to be implemented from June this year provides that anyone who violates the confidentiality liability by revealing or covering the personal information, etc. of corruption reporters on the media without their consent shall be as equally punished as under the Public Interest Reporter Protection Act by imprisonment not exceeding five years or a fine not exceeding 50 million won.

In addition, if any person subject to the reporting of an act of corruption does not comply with the request from the ACRC for the ‘temporary suspension of procedures for disadvantageous disposition’*, he/she will face up to one year in prison or a maximum of ten million won in fines**.

* Where it is deemed that procedures for a disadvantageous disposition against the requester for the guarantee of position are planned or already under way, due to his/her reporting, which, if neglected, is likely to cause unrecoverable damage, and that there is no time to wait for the Commission to make a determination, the chairperson may, at the request of the requester or ex officio, demand the person subject to the reporting to take a temporary measure for suspending a disadvantageous disposition for a fixed period not exceeding 45 days.

** Pre-amendment: imprisonment of up to six months or a fine of up to five million won

The Anti-Corruption Act has a similar legislative purpose with the Public Interest Reporter Protection Act, yet the latter enacted in 2011 stipulates more strengthened protective provisions, leading to the criticism that corruption reporters are relatively less protected than public interest reporters.

Hence, the ACRC amended the relevant provisions of the Anti-Corruption Act on two separate occasions in April and December last year to bolster the protection of confidentiality of corruption reporters and to strongly punish disadvantageous actions taken against corruption reporters.

It is expected that with the provisions revised twice for equal protection, more effective protection will be provided for corruption reporters in the years ahead.

Director General Han Sam Seok of the Inspection and Protection Bureau of the ACRC said, “I expect that an increasing number of people will file a courageous reports on acts of corruption in the public sector, as the relevant provisions have been revised in a way that enhances protection for corruption reporters to the level of protection for public interest reporters,” adding that “We will strive to protect corruption and public interest reporters so that anyone can report without anxiety.”

 

Attachment 1

 

Comparison between Corruption Reporting & Public Interest Reporting

사진1

Attachment 2

 

Corruption and Public Interest Reporter Protection System

 

Confidentiality of Reporting Persons (Article 64 of the Anti-Corruption Act and Article 12 of the Public Interest Reporter Protection Act)

- No person shall inform another person of the personal information about a public interest reporter, etc. or any fact from which one can readily infer that he/she is a public interest reporter, etc., or disclose or report the same although he/she knows the circumstances: Provided, That this shall not apply to cases where the public interest reporter, etc. consents thereto.

Protection of Personal Safety (Article 64-2 of the Anti-Corruption Act and Article 13 of the Public Interest Reporter Protection Act)

- Where it is evident that a reporter, cooperator, his/her relative or cohabitant has suffered or is likely to suffer serious harm to his/her life or body due to a report, etc. he/she may request the Commission to take necessary measures for his/her personal protection.

Mitigation of Culpability (Article 66 of the Anti-Corruption Act and Article 14 of the Public Interest Reporter Protection Act)

- Where a criminal act of a reporter, etc. is found in connection with reporting, the punishment, disciplinary action or unfavorable administrative measures against the reporter, etc. may be mitigated or remitted

- Where any reporting is made pursuant to Act, the relevant reporting person shall be deemed not to have violated his/her confidentiality obligation on duties, notwithstanding the provisions of other statutes, collective agreements, or the employment rules, etc.

Guarantee of Position, etc. (Articles 62 and 63 of the Anti-Corruption Act and Articles 15 thru 23 of the Public Interest Reporter Protection Act)

- No person shall be subjected to any disadvantage to his/her position or administrative and economic disadvantages on the grounds of his/her reporting, etc.

Disadvantageous Measures

Sanctions

Loss of social position (dismissal, release from office, etc.)

Up to three years in prison

(or up to KRW 30M in fines)

Unfair personnel measures (disciplinary punishment, curtailment of salary, etc.), other personnel measures against the intention of the person himself/herself (transference of position, withholding duties, etc.), discrimination in performance evaluation, discriminative payment of wages, etc., bullying, violence/threatening language, junjust inspection or investigation of duties, etc.)

Up to two years in prison

(or up to KRW 20M in fines)

 

- When a reporter, etc. has been subjected to any disadvantageous disposition on the grounds of his/her reporting, he/she may request the Commission to take measures necessary to revoke the disadvantageous disposition on him/her or to reinstate his/her advantages to the original state, etc.

Sanctions for failing to implement a decision to take protective measures confirmed: fines, imprisonment with labor, and charges for compelling compliance, etc.