SEOUL, Jan. 9 (Korea Bizwire) — A dozen opposition and independent lawmakers denounced the National Assembly secretariat Monday for removing artworks satirizing the government of President Yoon Suk Yeol from a planned exhibition at the Assembly.
About 80 pieces of art, including one showing a naked President Yoon brandishing a sword with the first lady, Kim Keon Hee, had been scheduled to be unveiled in an exhibition set to open at the Members’ Office Building at the National Assembly on Monday.
But the secretariat removed the artworks from the exhibition place, citing regulations that the secretary-general can ban events that infringe upon the rights of other people, and violate public etiquette and social ethics.
The 12 lawmakers who sponsored the exhibition — 10 from the main opposition Democratic Party and two independents — strongly denounced the secretariat for trampling upon freedom of expression and urged the National Assembly speaker to order the restoration of the artworks.
In a press conference, the lawmakers accused the secretariat of using force to “break the artists’ will to acutely criticize power” and called it “shameful” that freedom of expression is not tolerated at the National Assembly.
Secretary-General Lee Kwang-jae said while the freedom of expression in arts should be guaranteed under the Constitution, the Assembly has the duty to prevent this developing into a source of national friction.
The ruling People Power Party slammed the lawmakers who organized the exhibition, accusing them of personally attacking the head of the state and claimed the exhibition “went beyond the level of political satire.”