The Asian, Korean media, reported “Lee Kun-hee, the chairman of Samsung Group had died from an acute myocardial infarction on the 16th of May, 6 days after being admitted to Samsung Medical Center.”
The news reported “Samsung is soon set to release details after comprehensive decisions are made on funeral arrangements etc. News of the chairman's death has been revealed to have reached government bodies such as the Blue House, the Korean presidential residence, and the NIS( National Intelligence Service) on the evening of the 16th.”
On the other hand, Yoon Soon-bong, the managing director of Samsung medical center had denied any allegations of Lee's death on the morning of the 16th. Samsung apparently followed this denial with an announcement that the chairman was undergoing a stable recovery and that he could soon be moved into the general ward of the hospital.
Samsung was passive in its defense against the article. Why
Upon the release of a news article titled Lee Kun-hee's death on the 16th of May, Samsung apparently made a full correction demand two days later on the 19th of May.
Moreover, Samsung's senior media representative responded to the aforementioned article “Lee Kun-hee, Samsung CEO, died on May 16, on www.theasian.asia" with a fax stating that "the coverage was different from reality". Samsung made a full demand stating that "the distorted article should be deleted and taken off from the website.
Because it couldn’t prove Lee was alive and because the death of Lee would be a sensitive issue possibly determining the fate of the group.
Generally, there would be two methods of dealing with a false or controversial article like this in Korea. One would be to make a full correction demand by submitting litigation at the Press Arbitration Commission on the grounds of defamation. The other would be to take the group responsible for the article directly to court without the Press Arbitration Commission. Samsung could then request compensation for libel damages in both cases.
The public, mass media and journals has had their doubts about Lee’s condition for quite a while and the passive way Samsung handled this controversial article has sparked the public’s attention as it is so unlike Samsung to simply be “passive” when it comes to these matters.
By Lee Jae-sueng(firstname.lastname@example.org)