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View other events for the week of 3/ 8/2015
SF International Women's Day With The Mothers Of Korean Sewol Victims
Date Sunday March 08
Time 7:30 PM - 9:30 PM
Location Details
ILWU Local 34 Ship Clerks Hall
800 2nd St Next To AT&T Stadium
Parking Available
Event Type Panel Discussion
Organizer/AuthorSewol Family Support Committee
3/8 SF International Women's Day With The Mothers Of Korean Sewol Victims

March 8, 2015 International Women's Day With The Korean Mothers Of Sewol Ferry Disaster
Sunday March 8, 2015 7:30 PM
ILWU Local 34 Ship Clerks Hall
800 2nd St Next To AT&T Stadium
Parking Available

Video And Mothers Of Sewol Ferry Disaster

On April 16, 2014 the Sewol Ferry which was traveling to JeJu Island capsized and 295 people died with most of them being children. Nine are still unaccounted for. The families were initially told that all had been saved and the Park government has prevented getting the truth about about the causes of the accident and why it took place. They even arrested a reporter who was investigating the disaster. The Korean Coast Guard refused to even get involved in helping to save the passengers.
The mothers and families of the survivors have launched an international campaign for justice and set up a website called Sewol Truth. Seven bodies are still unaccounted for.
As people in Korea have learned the deregulation of the maritime industry and the use of part time temporary workers is very much connected to the incident. Even the captain was a contract worker and the companies owner was a big supporter of the Korean Park government and was allowed to violate health and safety protections by overloading the boat and failure to have proper health and safety training for the crew. The systemic corruption that has been exposed is not unique but more and more common in not only Korea but the United States as it pushed agreements like TPP and the Korea US Trade Agreement. Health and safety in maritime, nuclear industry, railways and airlines is a growing danger in Korea, the US and around the world.
Two Sewol mothers will be coming to the bay area to get their story out and also to link up with working people here who are fighting for justice and human rights.
Please join us for a video screening and report from the mothers.

Endorsed By
Sesamo Group
Dokebi Me Seol Support Committee
Sewol Family Support Committee
WorkWeek KPFA
No Nukes Action Committe


There will also be a press conference at the San Francisco Korean Consulate 3500 Clay St. in San Francisco on Monday March 9, 2015 at 2:00 PM by families and supporters of the Sewol Families.

For information (415)282-1908
http://www.sewoltruth.com

Background

On April 16, 2014 a South Korean passenger ferry, the Sewol, sank off the southwestern coast, leaving 295 passengers dead and 9 still missing. Most passengers were between the ages of 16 and 17 who were on a high school field trip. Investigators say that an improper modification of the ship to carry more passengers, overloaded cargo, an abrupt turn of the ship, as well as weather and strong currents were factors contributing to the sinking of the ferry. However, what turned the unfortunate accident into such a massive tragedy was a lack of rescue efforts by the captain, the crew, and the owner of the ship, in addition to the improper, unskillful, and painfully slow emergency response and rescue operations by the authorities. On November 7, the Special Sewol Bill was passed to enable special investigation of the disaster and confiscation of assets unlawfully gained by the owner of Sewol, yet it did not fully satisfy the victims’ families that wanted an independent committee with subpoena and prosecutorial powers.
Our children were not killed from an accident, but they were murdered by:
· The captain and crew who acted in the most cruel and disgusting way by abandoning passengers in need;
· The coast guard which performed clumsy and slow rescue operations and rejected help from others;
· Chonghaejin Marine, the company that owned the Sewol, which cut corners on passengers’ safety and did not act promptly to save passengers;
· The media which did not report the truth, further slowing down initial rescue operations;
· The South Korean government which did not make strong enough efforts to save the children’s lives; and
· President Park Geun-Hye who violated her constitutional responsibility and presidential duty to protect the safety and lives of the people
We hereby demand:
· A thorough investigation into this disaster should be performed immediately by an independent counsel in order to disclose all irregularities on this matter.
· President Park Geun-Hye should stop blaming others. She should take a full responsibility stipulated in the Constitution.
· All responsible people in the disaster should be identified and properly punished.
Please visit our website, Sewoltruth.com, for more information and sign the petition.

Safety Regulation Still Lagging 100 Days After Korean Ferry Disaster
http://www.equaltimes.org/south-korea-safety-regulation?lang=en#.U-AHMjm5JUR
24 July 2014
SOUTH KOREA: SAFETY REGULATION STILL LAGGING 100 DAYS AFTER FERRY DISASTER
by Se-Woong Koo

“Wait a second, I just saw this in the back, it’s a life vest made in 1994. This is the situation on the ship. Power is cut off and we really don’t know what to do. The coastal police are apparently almost here, and I want to live.”

Made on a cell phone by a student victim whose desire to live didn’t stop him from losing his life, a previously unreleased recording has illustrated the stark reality of the poor safety onboard the Sewol, a ferry that sunk off the coast of southwest Korea on 16 April 2014.


A man holds up a sign that reads “Pass the special legislation” at a 19 July event in downtown Seoul where passers-by were asked to sign a petition in support of the victims’ families.

(Photo/Se-Woong Koo)
This Thursday, 24 July 2014, marks the 100th day anniversary of the disaster where some 294 people died – 10 bodies are still unaccounted for.

But given a discernible lack of progress in the investigation of the accident’s cause and the rescue operation’s failures, the families of the victims have been protesting in front of the country’s National Assembly since 12 July to demand the speedy passing of a legislation that would allow a special committee to carry out a full assessment and indict those found responsible.

The final day of the National Assembly’s regular summer session on 17 July failed to see the passage of the much debated legislation.

At the heart of the disagreement is the ruling Saenuri Party’s refusal to heed the families’ request and grant the committee full investigative authority including the power to seize evidence and arrest suspects.

Coupled with the mysterious death of Yoo Byung-eun, the fugitive boss of the company that operated the Sewol, the stalled legislation has received criticism as a sign of the state’s inability to seriously tackle problems in public and occupational safety.

Korea is beset by industrial accidents. According to a study conducted by the state statistics agency (KOSIS), in 2008 Korea had an industrial fatality rate of 18.0 per 100,000 persons, higher than those of Russia (10.9) and Mexico (10.0).
That number tapered only slightly in 2009 (15.7) and 2010 (15.5).

By the government’s own admission 2,422 Koreans died from industrial accidents in 2010 alone, and the 2013 figure of 1,929 deaths, while a decrease, still accorded the country the dubious honor of having the highest rate of worker fatalities among OECD member states.

Under President Park Geun-hye’s watch, accidents large and small have taken place with an alarming frequency. Notably on 31 August 2013 three trains collided in the southeastern hub of Daegu, injuring more than 20 people.

On 17 February 2014 the roof of a resort in the town of Kyungju collapsed from the weight of accumulated snow, killing 10 and injuring 125, mostly university students on a school retreat.

Meanwhile, the construction of a 555 metre-tall tower by the Lotte Group in southeastern Seoul has resulted since last year in two deaths and five injuries as well as a small fire and falling debris onto the nearby area.

The company has also been accused of causing sinkholes in the neighborhood with the building’s excessive weight.

On the manufacturing front, Hyundai Heavy Industries, the world’s largest shipbuilder, reported eight deaths and four injuries at its work sites in March and April of this year alone.
Hyundai Steel, a sister company to Hyundai Heavy Industries, saw eight die and another eight injured last year.



Cost-cutting

Experts argue that to improve public and occupational safety the state must first address the underlying problem of cost-cutting by industries.

But for Jun Hyoung-Bae, professor of law at Kangwon University and a specialist in occupational safety and labour rights, the problem is deeply rooted: “Korea’s industrial sector is heavily dependent on manufacturing and construction, which are prone to accidents to begin with.

“Second, to remain competitive, Korean companies cut costs associated with production so that it can make similar products compared to those made overseas but at a much lower cost and therefore at a lower price. The idea is that if they followed every safety regulation they wouldn’t be able to compete.”

The subway system is another area where excessive cost-cutting in safety enforcement and hiring has been blamed for causing accidents. This spring Seoul alone has seen three subway accidents, with the worst case, on the heavily trafficked Line 2, leading to 238 injuries.
The Seoul Subway Labor Union (SSLU) contends that the Sewol sinking has not brought about any meaningful change in the management’s attitude toward safety issues.

In a public statement, the SSLU noted: “While turning a blind eye to deficient manpower on the ground, [the management] has simply sent a pile of documents ordering inspection. There is no sign that the system of operation that emphasises performance and results over safety inspection will ever be touched.”

Various accidents have mounted while the Sewol legislation stalls.

On 17 July a fire broke out on the Busan city subway network, forcing some 500 passengers to evacuate and halting operation for 40 minutes.

That same day, a helicopter carrying five firemen on the way back from the ongoing Sewol search operation crashed in a densely populated area of Gwangju, killing all five onboard.


Was neoliberalism the real cause of the Korea Sewol tragedy?
http://english.hani.co.kr/arti/english_edition/e_national/635555.html
most of the Sewol’s crew members were irregular workers, with even the captain serving on a one-year contract - giving him the title of captain without any real authority.
“Under these working conditions, it’s difficult to develop any sense of devotion to or responsibility for the boat,”
http://english.hani.co.kr/arti/english_edition/e_national/635555.html
Posted on : May.2,2014 21:26 KSTModified on : May.2,2014 22:57 KST


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Han Byung-chul, professor at the Berlin University of the Arts
Korean-German philosopher argues that neoliberalism has eroded trust and regulations, making accidents and selfishness more common
By Cho Ki-weon, staff reporter
“The real killer isn’t the captain. It’s neoliberalism.”
The Korean-German philosopher Han Byung-chul, a professor at the Berlin University of the Arts and author of “Fatigue Society,” published a piece in the Apr. 26 edition of the Frankfurter Allgemeine describing the sinking of the Sewol ferry as a tragic outcome of the dehumanization caused by neoliberalism.
Han’s book “Fatigue Society” caused something of a sensation in South Korea, with its characterization of modern society as a “performance society” where people work themselves to death or exhaustion without being forced to do so.
In the recent piece titled “The Ship Is Us,” Han writes that the ferry accident “cannot be blamed on a lack of attention from the sailors, a lack of professionalism, or the special circumstances of South Korea.”
“This tragedy is a metaphor for modern society,” he concludes.
Noting that President Park Geun-hye recently described the captain of the ship as a “murderer,” Han observes, “The person who should be first to bear responsibility for the Sewol tragedy is [Park’s predecessor] Lee Myung-bak, the person who pushed the country’s neoliberal policies.”
Han notes that as recently as 2009, a passenger ship was only allowed to operate for 20 years after it was built. That period was extended to 30 years under Lee, who pushed “business-friendly” policies while serving as President from 2008 to 2013.
“These policies and their focus on business performance have greatly increased the risk of accidents,” he concludes.
Han also takes note of the fact that most of the Sewol’s crew members were irregular workers, with even the captain serving on a one-year contract - giving him the title of captain without any real authority.
“Under these working conditions, it’s difficult to develop any sense of devotion to or responsibility for the boat,” Han says. “When an accident occurs, your first action is to save yourself. Looking back on this tragedy, one could call it an example of structural violence.”
Han also points out the sharp decrease in the number of regular workers in South Korea as a result of the neoliberal policies introduced by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) during the Asian financial crisis of the late 1990s.
“As a result of neoliberalism, South Korean’s social climate became very harsh and inhumane. Everyone only thinks of his or her own survival,” he writes.
He also observes how South Korean politicians made sure to visit the scene of the tragedy to draw attention to themselves, including President Park Geun-hye, who drew criticism for a picture she took with a five-year-old girl who survived the tragedy.
According to Han, the days of captains staying on deck to the last - like Edward J. Smith, the captain who went down with the Titanic in 1912 - are a thing of the past, not just in South Korea but in other societies as well. It was no coincidence, he writes, that the captain of the Italian luxury liner Costa Concordia chose to the flee the ship first when it sank in 2012.
“Today’s society is a ‘survival society,’ where everyone is just trying to make sure they survive,” he writes.
Quoting the German economist Alexander Rustow - the person who coined the term “neoliberalism” - Han says that neoliberalism makes societies inhumane.
“Neoliberalism alienates people. In that sense, the Sewol is like a microcosm of neoliberalism,” he observes.
Having sacrificed trust, modern society is trying to replace it with transparency and control, Han writes. This echoes the conclusions of his 2012 book “Transparency Society,” in which he writes, “Transparency gives rise to forced adaptation, and in that sense contributes to stabilizing the ruling system.”
Han’s argument is that trust is the glue that holds the members of a society together and makes it stable; when trust disappears, the society depends instead on transparency and control.
“When people in a society think only of their own interests and lose a sense of community consciousness, corruption occurs,” he writes. “Transparency and control may succeed in preventing corruption, but they cannot restore common sense or trust.”

Lessons from Sewol tragedy not learned
http://www.koreatimes.co.kr/www/news/nation/2014/08/116_163475.html

A capsized fishing boat is lifted out of the water in Saemangeum, North Jeolla Province, Saturday. / Yonhap

By Kim Se-jeong

Two workers who were supposed to be on duty at the water gate control center on the Saemangeum seawall failed to warn a fishing boat that was approaching the seawall. The two were eating dinner together at a nearby restaurant at the time of the incident, police said Sunday.

The behavior of the workers was reminiscent of officials stationed at the Jindo Vessel Traffic Service (VTS) who allegedly neglected their duties when the Sewol ferry sank in April, killing more than 300 passengers.

According to Gunsan Coast Guard in North Jeolla Province, a 3.2-ton fishing vessel named Taeyang was engulfed by water near a floodgate at the seawall at 7:13 p.m. on Friday. Three fishermen, including two East Timorese ― De Jesus Alcino, 25, and Da Coast Mendes Marcelino, 26 ― are still missing, while three others were rescued.

While the floodgates are open, vessels are supposed to stay at least three kilometers away from the seawall. The two workers were supposed to warn the boat stay distant, but they were dining at a restaurant at the time, according to the Coast Guard.

Shin Byung-su from Gunsan Coast Guard said that the two were questioned on Saturday.

"We will decide whether to seek arrest warrants for them after our investigation is over," Shin said.

He added the vessel did not violate any time schedule.

The Saemangeum Project Office releases in advance a floodgate operation schedule every week, and Friday evening was not included on the timetable.

"There are times when we have to open floodgates unexpectedly. The water levels have quickly risen in recent days due to heavy rainfall last week, and we had to open it," Hwang In-hyuk, one of the two floodgate control center workers, explained as to why it was not included in the schedule. The floodgates had been opened since 3 p.m. that day.

Completed in 2006, the 33.9-kilometer-long Saemangeum seawall ― the world's longest man-made dyke ― has 18 floodgates. The control office opens and closes the floodgates to maintain the water level within the seawall.

This is not the first accident caused by the negligence of the water gate control center.

Seven years ago, the floodgates were also opened unexpectedly and one fishing boat was overwhelmed, killing one fisherman.

To many, Friday's incident is almost identical to the Sewol ferry disaster in terms of how it happened.

"They are the same in that the negligent behavior of the officers caused the tragedies," said Kim Hyung-dong, 33, said.

On April 16, the passenger ferry carrying 476 onboard capsized in waters off Jindo in South Jeolla Province, killing more than 300 people, mostly high school students from Ansan, Gyeonggi Province.

After the Sewol tragedy, the prosecution indicted 13 officials at the Jindo Vessel Traffic Service (VTS) for negligence in carrying out their duties of monitoring the Sewol ferry and gathering information about the drifting ferry after it began to list and go off course.

The VTS allegedly let one of the two officers assigned to the vessel traffic control go off to take a nap and leave the office during working hours. The VTS is also accused of removing CCTVs from the monitoring room and deleting parts of the video file. A trial date has been set for Aug. 29th.

Grieving families of Sewol ferry victims want independent South Korean probe
http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/asia_pacific/south-koreas-grieving-sewol-families-want-independent-investigation/2014/08/05/3e7e3afd-88ae-4daf-bc81-8a1b2dd9d909_story.html


Hundreds of people marched in Seoul last month at a hundred days’ memorial protest marking April’s Sewol ferry disaster, in which 304 people died and 10 are still missing. (Shin Woong-jae/For The Washington Post)
By Anna Fifield August 5 at 5:58 PM
SEOUL — Kim Yung-oh is not exactly sure how much weight he has lost. But when he undoes his belt buckle, his pants bunch around his concave belly. Twenty pounds, he estimates.

Kim, whose 16-year-old daughter was one of 304 people who died when the Sewol ferry sank in April, will on Wednesday enter the 24th day of a hunger strike — staged on Gwanghwamun Plaza, a wide median strip along a central Seoul boulevard that leads toward the presidential Blue House.

The plaza is also where Pope Francis will celebrate an open-air Mass next week — and Kim is vowing to stay put.


“No matter what, I want to stay here and appeal to the pope,” Kim said weakly during an interview on an elevated platform under a tent on the plaza, part of a protest against perceived government obfuscation over the cause of the ferry disaster.

The pope is scheduled to meet with the Sewol families during his visit, but in Daejeon, a city about 100 miles south of Seoul. Nonetheless, protesters know they have some leverage over President Park Geun-hye’s administration as it prepares for the pontiff’s arrival.


Kim Young-oh, a father of one of victims lost his daughter, Kim Yu-min, and has been on a hunger strike for 23 days straight. (Shin Woong-jae/For The Washington Post)
The April 16 capsizing of the Sewol — an overloaded ferry transporting an estimated 476 people and far too many containers from the mainland to the southern island of Jeju — remains an active tragedy in South Korea.

Ten passengers have still not been found, and Seoul’s City Hall remains a carefully tended memorial — complete with funereal chrysanthemums — to the victims, the vast majority of whom were students from one high school.


‘We want to know how our children died’
On Gwanghwamun Plaza, a few blocks from City Hall, Kim sits on his platform, alongside tents designated for victims’ families, religious figures and other supporters. On Tuesday, a group of Catholic nuns, Buddhist monks and Protestant ministers joined Kim in his hunger strike for the day. Supporters handed out free cups of fresh iced coffee to passersby while a TV screen played footage from video shot inside the ferry, by students unaware of the fate about to befall them.

“We want to know how our children died. That’s all,” said Park Yung-woo, a math teacher whose daughter drowned.

The families are urging the country’s president to set up a special investigative panel with a greater proportion of members appointed by victims’ kin than by the government. But, more important, they also want the panel to have the authority to subpoena information it needs and prosecute people it suspects of wrongdoing.

“The parents want truth from the government,” said Won Jae-min, a lawyer who has been helping the families. “We are asking for an independent body of inspectors to look into this case, and we are demanding the government to give them special legal powers so they are able to investigate.”


Park and her ruling Saenuri Party had vowed to establish an independent commission, and the main opposition party had agreed in principle. But they are divided on the details. The deadlock led to the cancellation of hearings scheduled for this week.

The families are calling for the special panel to be established becausePark’s administration is widely accused of bungling its response to the tragedy and not being sufficiently forthcoming with the facts. That has led to rumors of government complicity and a cover-up.


An ongoing criminal investigation has shown that dangerous modifications were made to the ferry — including the addition of an extra floor — and that the ballast water meant to counterweigh the cargo had been emptied out, so as not to alert regulators to the changes.

Adding fuel to the suspicions, authorities took almost six weeks to identify a body they now think is that of Yoo Byung-eun, the 73-year-old owner of the Sewol ferry operator, Chonghaejin Marine, who had been on the run since the sinking.

The decomposed body was found June 12 just two miles from one of Yoo’s houses. Even though the deceased was dressed in designer clothing, police said they initially thought it was a homeless person until DNA tests indicated in late July that it was Yoo.

People wondered why it took so long to identify a man who was the subject of the largest manhunt in South Korean history.

Willing to die for his cause
Park, whose approval rating has slumped since the disaster, criticized police and prosecutors Tuesday for their missteps, noting that they continued searching for Yoo even after the body was found.

“The bungled manhunt resulted in the waste of national resources and severely undermined public confidence in the government,” she said during a cabinet meeting, the Yonhap news agency reported.

At the protest site Tuesday, families handed out pamphlets bearing a photo of a moist-eyed Park expressing remorse for the ferry sinking. The headline read: “Were the president’s tears just lies?” Volunteers urged people to sign a petition calling on the administration to establish the independent inquiry commission.


Throughout, Kim sat on his platform in the sweltering heat, nodding at well-wishers who stopped to bow to him.

A sign on a bib he was wearing marked the number of days he had been fasting and carried an appeal: “Madam President, please bury me next to my love Yu-min if this powerless dad falls and dies.”

“I feel ready to die for this,” Kim said, sitting cross-legged on a gray pillow, his thin wrists resting on his knees. “I feel so sorry that I couldn’t save my daughter that day and that I can’t do anything to bring her back.”

Anna Fifield is The Post’s bureau chief in Tokyo, focusing on Japan and the Koreas. She previously reported for the Financial Times from Washington DC, Seoul, Sydney, London and from across the Middle East.

Korean Protests including by KCTU intensify over Sewol failures caused by deregulation and privatization
http://www.koreaherald.com/view.php?ud=20140525000350
Protests intensify over Sewol failures


Published : 2014-05-25 21:03
Updated : 2014-05-25 21:43
Despite President Park Geun-hye’s repeated apologies and drastic reform proposals, a growing number of people are participating in protests against the government’s failures during the Sewol ferry disaster.

Students, parents with small children and even foreign nationals took part in massive demonstrations in central Seoul on Saturday to commemorate the victims of the sunken ferry and to urge Cheong Wa Dae to take responsibility for its failed operation to save those onboard the sunken ferry Sewol.

About 30,000 people held a candlelight vigil this week, according to Park Sung-sik, spokesman of Korean Confederation of Trade Unions, while the police say the rally had about 8,000. KCTU is one of two labor umbrella groups here that organized the weekend rally. The Korean National Police Agency said it had dispatched about 13,000 riot police.
<20140525000197_0.jpg>
Protesters march in central Seoul on Saturday calling on Cheong Wa Dae to take responsibility over the government’s failed rescue mission for passengers of the sunken ferry Sewol. (Yonhap)

“The number of rally participants has steadily grown to around 30,000 a week. Unlike other rallies, we see a growing number of young kids with parents joining the rally,” Park said.

“We are going to hold rallies every Saturday and will share the plans online and on social media,” he added.

The weekend demonstration was filled with protesters wearing masks and black T-shirts that carried angry words directed at the government and the media. Many were holding pickets reading, “What did you do during the golden time?” and “We demand an independent probe into Sewol.” Students and parents of the victims shed tears and denounced the government’s poor initial response.

“Stop saying that you have failed to protect us,” a girl said on the platform.

Some protesters clashed with the police later in the evening as they attempted to head toward Cheong Wa Dae, the presidential office, some blocks away from the Cheonggye Plaza where the rally was held.

The protesters claimed about 2,000 people marched toward the Blue House to urge President Park to step down, but soon collided with police who were blocking the entire street toward the office, they said. The police ordered the protesters to disperse. But as they refused to do so, the riot police forced them onto the sidewalk, saying what they were doing was illegal, they said.

During the collision, one protester was injured and transported to a hospital nearby. The police also took about 30 protesters on charges of using violence against the police. They were taken to four different police stations and are being questioned. The list of protesters taken by the police included KCTU officials and high school students. The police said some of them had been released.

Young KBS journalists decry their network’s sinking
http://english.hani.co.kr/arti/english_edition/e_national/636068.html
Posted on : May.8,2014 11:48 KST


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Coverage of Sewol sinking was misleading and shielded the president, say junior reporters calling for debate
By Lee Jung-gook, staff reporter
Young reporters at the KBS network put out a statement calling for a “big debate” with news bureau executives and reporters to reflect on coverage of the Sewol ferry sinking.
The reporters, who represent all members of KBS’s 38th to 40th recruiting classes and have been at the network for less than three years, were responding to the ongoing controversy over inaccurate and misleading reporting on the tragedy.
The statement, titled “We reflect on KBS’s sinking journalism standards,” was released on the afternoon of May 7 by 55 KBS reporters and photojournalists.
“We wish to propose a big debate with the news bureau chief, the newsroom director, and all the journalists who took part in covering the Sewol tragedy to reflect on the way it has been reported on,” it read.
“We intend to keep ‘reflecting’ with our more experienced colleagues until the news bureau leadership responds sincerely,” the reporters added.
Earlier that morning, ten of the reporters posted messages on the network’s internal online bulletin board calling for reflection on the “shameless reporting of the network in charge of disaster coverage.”
Blasting the network’s coverage of a visit by President Park Geun-hye, one reporter wrote, “The report on the President’s first visit to Jindo left out everything that the family members were saying at Jindo Gymnasium. The harsh voices disappeared, and all that went out was the President‘s voice and her basking in applause.”
“When the President paid condolences at the Ansan memorial, the coverage was edited in a way that led viewers to believe a mourner was the grandmother of one of the missing passengers,” the reporter added as an example of misleading reporting.
Critics have been lambasting KBS for repeated reports on the “emotional security services” Park has been receiving.
A second reporter asked, “Does it fit with KBS’s reason for being for it to be a broadcast van parroting things without content, or to copy what it says in the morning news?”
A third reporter wrote, “I’m afraid to even wear a jacket with the KBS logo at Paengmok Port. My first thought is how I’m going to avoid being glared at and rebuked by the public.”
The messages were later deleted by the network, sources reported.
The same day, the KBS office of the National Union of Media Workers put out its own statement criticizing the network.
“We can no longer bear to watch KBS as it sinks,” the statement said before calling on network president Gil Hwan-young, news bureau director Im Chang-geon, and news room chief Kim Si-gon to “apologize to the public and step down right now.”
“With the newer employees taking action, a lot of the veteran journalists are saying, ‘We can’t just sit here and do nothing,‘” said a member of the union on condition of anonymity.
On the night of May 7, the KBS newsroom made an official response, “We are listening to the young reporters’ various opinions and plan to hold a debate if needed. We will revise the standards of reporting on accidents and disasters after gathering reporters’ opinions.”

Korea Confronts Tendency to Overlook Safety as Toll in Ferry Sinking Grows-Gov Health And Safey Oversight Controlled By Capitalists
http://www.nytimes.com/2014/04/23/world/asia/as-ferry-toll-rises-hand-wringing-over-tendency-to-overlook-safety-in-south-korea.html?ref=world
By CHOE SANG-HUNAPRIL 22, 2014


A temporary morgue in Jindo, set up to identify victims of the sunken ferry Sewol. As of Tuesday night, the death toll had risen to 121, but 181 were still missing. CreditUriel Sinai for The New York Times

JINDO, South Korea — As Navy divers recovered the bodies of dozens of teenagers drowned waiting for a rescue of their doomed ferry, South Korea has begun a national bout of hand-wringing over the country’s tendency to overlook safety precautions in its quest for economic success.

With a mounting list of errors that appeared to have contributed to the disaster, maritime experts, the news media and regular citizens venting their anger on social media have begun to question what they describe as inadequate safety precautions and often lax regulation of businesses.

On Tuesday, an opposition lawmaker released data showing that the ship was carrying three times its recommended maximum cargo, though it remained unclear if that could have helped destabilize it.

<22KOREA3-thumbStandard.jpg>Arrests of 4 More Crew Members Sought in Korean Ferry SinkingAPRIL 21, 2014
In addition, President Park Geun-hye, who has been withering in her criticism of the crew, has also argued that cozy relations between regulators and shippers may have contributed to the catastrophe, one of South Korea’s worst in peacetime. The prime minister cited specific problems that might have been addressed by better regulation, including suspicions that renovations to add more sleeping cabins made the ship top-heavy and more likely to keel over.

Photo

The mother of one of the missing passengers from the ferry shows the photo of her daughter to another relative of the missing. Most of the missing are students from Danwon High School.CreditJean Chung for The New York Times
The country’s top newspapers reflected the growing sense of anger, and shock, over what they suggested was a lack of proper oversight. “Are we a safe society or a third-rate people?” read one editorial headline in the newspaper Joong-Ang. And the daily newspaper Dong-A ran an editorial titled “Cry Korea,” in which it argued that Ms. Park should live up to her campaign promise to run an “administration of safety.”

For years, South Koreans called their country “a land of disasters” after a lack of regulation or a cavalier attitude toward safety, or both, were at least partly blamed for a string of accidents.

In 1993, an Asiana Airlines jet slammed into a hill not far from the site of the ferry accident, killing 68 people aboard. Later that year, an overloaded ferry sank, killing 292. In 1994, a bridge collapsed in Seoul, killing 32. In 1995, about 100 died in a gas explosion, and roughly 500 in the collapse of a department store in Seoul that was weakened after the owner violated building safety codes by adding a swimming pool at the top. Two years later, a Korean Air jet crashed in Guam, killing 228.

With no large-scale disaster reported since arson caused a subway fire that killed 192 people in 2003, South Korea appeared to have put its curse behind it — and the country appeared to be moving past its culture of “ppali ppali,” or “hurry hurry,” loosely translated as a tendency to justify cutting corners to get work finished quickly.

Now, many Koreans are expressing shame at how far their country still needs to go to address safety concerns, adding to the grief and anger that has gripped the country since the accident last Wednesday.

On Tuesday, anger at the crew’s apparent missteps in the evacuation only grew as investigators said the crew was not even the first to notify the authorities that the ship was in trouble. The first call, they said, came from a high school student who called the police.

“Save us! We’re on a ship and I think it’s sinking,” the student is quoted as saying, according to the South Korean national news agency, Yonhap. The boy is among the missing.

As of Wednesday afternoon, the death toll had risen to 150, but 152 were still missing.

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Analysts said the ferry accident appeared to be a reminder that South Korea did not shed its easy acceptance of loose regulatory enforcement even as it became a high-tech economic powerhouse flooding the world markets with Samsung smartphones. The culture of lax enforcement is such a given, experts say, that government officials consider working in public safety a second-rate job.

In South Korea, more than 31,000 people, including 3,000 students, die every year in accidents, accounting for 12.8 percent of the country’s total annual deaths, the highest rate among major developed nations.

Those episodes include everything from car accidents to fires, and it is unclear how much can be attributed to a lack of focus on safety. But there is a general acknowledgment in hypercompetitive South Korea that success is often measured by how quickly and cheaply a job is done, and that spending too much time and resources trying to follow rules is sometimes seen as losing a competitive edge.

“The country has grown so rapidly that a lot of shortcuts have been made, so that it’s waiting for an accident to happen,” said Tom Coyner, a member of the American Chamber of Commerce in Korea and the author of “Doing Business in Korea.”

Kim Chang-je, a professor of navigation science at Korea Maritime and Ocean University, said the complaints appeared to be true of the ferry business. “We have the safety regulations and systems that were similar to global norms,” he said. “But they are not properly enforced.”

He and other experts pointed out a host of issues they said undermined safety on the ferry, including that the crew had several contract workers, who might have been less familiar with the ship than a regular crew.

Investigators have also said the decision by the company that owned the ferry, Cheonghaejin Marine Company, to add more sleeping cabins probably undermined the ship’s ability to regain its balance after tilting.

The Korea Register of Shipping approved the change to the ship’s design after advising Cheonghaejin Marine to carry less cargo and more ballast water to compensate for the loss of stability. But on Tuesday, Kim Young-rok, an opposition lawmaker, said that when the ship left Incheon, it carried 3,608 tons of cargo, three times the recommended maximum. The company’s audit data showed it has depended increasingly upon cargo to compensate for declining passenger revenues.

Prosecutors were investigating whether the ferry carried enough ballast water to accommodate the extra cargo. One of the two first mates arrested on Tuesday told reporters that when he tried to right the ship after tilting, the ballast “didn’t work.”

Prosecutors raided Korea Register’s headquarters on Tuesday and barred the head of Cheonghaejin Marine, as well as the company’s family owners, from leaving the country.

It has also become clear that the captain most likely violated national navigational guidelines when he left the ship in the control of the least experienced ship’s mate through a waterway notorious for its rapid currents. The guidelines stipulate a captain should be in control in busy or dangerous waters.

The ferry also had no extra captain, as ships often do when they are on long overnight voyages so the two can take turns in the bridge, experts said.

Experts say they suspect some of the problems with the ship resulted from lax enforcement of safety standards made possible by ties among the Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries, the Korea Shipping Association and shipping companies.

The shipping association is a lobby for shipping companies and is financed by them. But it is also charged with inspecting ships for safety measures, such as a proper and balanced stowage of cargo. In addition, many senior officials from the ministry — which is supposed to oversee the association’s enforcement — also join the association after they retire.

“We will never be able to expect safety regulations to be properly enforced until the shipping association becomes independent,” said Jung Yun-chul, another maritime safety expert at Korea Maritime and Ocean University.

In an editorial on Monday, The Chosun Ilbo, the nation’s largest newspaper, summed up the sense that with more care for safety, the calamity might have been avoided.

“In Korea, people who insist on abiding by basic rules are often considered annoying or inflexible, while those who are adept at dodging them are seen as smart,” it said. “But the country is full of such smart people, and the result has been catastrophic.”

Park Geun-hye administration only pays lip service to safety while in reality being completely apathetic about the issue-The heartbreaking lack of attention to safety
http://english.hani.co.kr/arti/english_edition/e_editorial/633441.html
The heartbreaking lack of attention to safety

Posted on : Apr.18,2014 11:18 KSTModified on : Apr.19,2014 13:14 KST


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In the second day of efforts to rescue the people who are missing after the sinking of the Sewol, there has unfortunately been no progress. It is heartbreaking to see the ferry, upside down in the cold water along with around 280 missing passengers with only part of the prow sticking above the surface, not only for the families of the missing but for the entire Korean public. Words fail to describe how horrible this situation is. Nevertheless, the government must never give up hope, sparing no effort in the rescue work.
While tragic, the sinking of the ferry was avoidable. The direct cause of the accident has yet to be determined, but the facts that have come to light and the testimony provided by the survivors makes it clear that this was a stereotypical man-made disaster resulting from Korean society’s indifference to safety concerns. More specifically, evidence is surfacing that shows the total inadequacy of the government’s initial response to the accident.
In a disaster such as the sinking of a passenger ship, the first response is of the utmost importance, since each minute, each second, can make the difference in saving lives. If the government had at least had a disaster response system in place, it would have been possible to deploy the rescue equipment and personnel in a rapid and organized fashion, accounting for all foreseeable contingencies.
But the government did not take the crisis seriously in the early stages and thus failed to move quickly to begin rescue operations. It claimed that it had activated a joint public-private response system involving the military and based in the Central Office of Disaster Safety Measures, part of the Ministry of Security and Public Administration, but these claims has yet to be verified.
The government’s pathetic inability to respond to accidents is also reflected in its failure to even grasp the basic situation twelve hours after receiving word of the accident. The figures provided by the Central Office about the number of passengers on the Sewol, the number of rescue workers, and the number of missing persons changed throughout the day, adding to the confusion. On the evening of the accident, after a string of contradictory reports about the rescue work, the public witnessed the disgusting spectacle of the Ministry of Security and Public Administration and the Coast Guard both trying to avoid responsibility for the rescue work.
The government’s clumsy response was also evident in the comments made by President Park Geun-hye. The Blue House reported that, just after the accident occurred, Park worriedly instructed the relevant ministries to ensure that not a single life be lost. It also explained that Park paid a personal visit to the Central Office when the situation took a turn for the worse around 5 pm, about eight hours after the accident. During this visit, the Blue House said, Park asked the second vice minister of the Ministry of Security and Public Administration why it was so hard to find the high school students if they were wearing life jackets. These remarks demonstrate that Park had not been accurately briefed on the basic situation on the ground or had failed to understand the situation. The passengers had not been able to put on life jackets at the time of the accident, and most of the missing were trapped inside their chambers in the capsized ship - facts that anyone could have picked up from simply watching the coverage on TV.
The Park Geun-hye administration selected safety as one of its primary governing objectives, even renaming the Ministry of Public Administration and Safety as the Ministry of Safety and Public Administration. But judging from the government’s performance from the moment the accident occurred through the ongoing rescue efforts, it is doubtful whether even a rudimentary disaster response system is in place. It is no exaggeration to conclude that this is an administration that only pays lip service to safety while in reality being completely apathetic about the issue.
800_sewol_mother_with_police_south-korean-ferry-sewol.jpg
Added to the calendar on Tuesday Feb 17th, 2015 8:26 AM
§Sewol Ferry
by Sewol Family Support Committee Tuesday Feb 17th, 2015 8:26 AM
sewol_ferry_fears-rise-for-missing-in-south-korea-ferry-sinking_170414111232.jpg
The owners of the Sewol ferry were able to operate without proper health and safety protection and oversight. They also intimidated crew members who were all temporary and contract workers with no union protection. This union busting is part of deregulation pushed by the Park government and the US government through so called "free trade agreements".
§Mass Protests
by Sewol Family Support Committee Tuesday Feb 17th, 2015 8:26 AM
800_sewol_protestprotest2.jpg
There have been mass protests in Korea against the cover-up and conditions that led to this catastrophe for the families of Sewol and crew members who died.
§3/8 Sewol Mothers Meeting PDF
by Organizing Committee On Veolia Friday Feb 27th, 2015 1:27 PM
sewol-flyer.pdf_600_.jpg
3/8 SF International Women's Day With The Mothers Of Sewol Victims

March 8, 2015 International Women's Day With The Korean Mothers Of Sewol Ferry Disaster
Sunday March 8, 2015 7:30 PM
ILWU Local 34 Ship Clerks Hall
800 2nd St Next To AT&T Stadium
Parking Available

Video And Mothers Of Sewol Ferry Disaster

On April 16, 2014 the Sewol Ferry which was traveling to JeJu Island capsized and 295 people died with most of them being children. Nine are still unaccounted for. The families were initially told that all had been saved and the Park government has prevented getting the truth about about the causes of the accident and why it took place. They even arrested a reporter who was investigating the disaster. The Korean Coast Guard refused to even get involved in helping to save the passengers.
The mothers and families of the survivors have launched an international campaign for justice and set up a website called Sewol Truth. Seven bodies are still unaccounted for.
As people in Korea have learned the deregulation of the maritime industry and the use of part time temporary workers is very much connected to the incident. Even the captain was a contract worker and the companies owner was a big supporter of the Korean Park government and was allowed to violate health and safety protections by overloading the boat and failure to have proper health and safety training for the crew. The systemic corruption that has been exposed is not unique but more and more common in not only Korea but the United States as it pushed agreements like TPP and the Korea US Trade Agreement. Health and safety in maritime, nuclear industry, railways and airlines is a growing danger in Korea, the US and around the world.
Two Sewol mothers will be coming to the bay area to get their story out and also to link up with working people here who are fighting for justice and human rights.
Please join us for a video screening and report from the mothers.

Endorsed By
Sesamo Group
Dokebi Me Seol Support Committee
Sewol Family Support Committee
WorkWeek KPFA
No Nukes Action Committe


There will also be a press conference at the San Francisco Korean Consulate 3500 Clay St. in San Francisco on Monday March 9, 2015 at 2:00 PM by families and supporters of the Sewol Families.

For information (415)282-1908
http://www.sewoltruth.com
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SEWOL Mother's Bay Area Events PosterSewol Family Support CommitteeThursday Mar 5th, 2015 10:42 AM
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