South Korea podcaster charged over murder report

May 12, 2013 at 12:35 PM

SEOUL, May 12 (UPI) -- A South Korean journalist faces arrest after reporting on suspicions the brother of the president was involved in a homicide, the reporter's attorney said.

Prosecutors are charging Choo Chin-woo of the weekly SisaIN with violating South Korean election laws by allegedly spreading false and defamatory information in order to prevent the re-election of President Park Geun-hye.

Prosecutors denied they were investigating Choo for political purposes; however Choo's legal team said Sunday politics was exactly why Choo was facing arrest. "I don't think this kind of thing can happen except in a backward country ruled by an authoritarian government bent on stifling freedom of expression," said lawyer Lee Jae-jeong.

Choo is the co-host of the popular podcast "I Am a Petty-Minded Creep," which regularly stirred up allegations of wrongdoing by notable South Korean politicians, business and religious leaders. Prosecutors said the report on President Park's brother, Park Ji-man, was a baseless politically motivated attack on the president.

The New York Times said Choo alleged Park Ji-man was involved in arranging the 2011 death of a distant relative amid a business dispute. Park recently sued Choo for allegedly spreading false speculation.

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