A photo taken by Newsis reporter Chu Sang-chul has won the first prize from the Korea Press Photographers Association (KPP) in the general news category. The title of the photo is “Because of Prime Minister Hwang.”
On July 20, local news agency Newsis posted the award-winning photo showing seniors using the stairs at the Guro Senior Welfare Service Center because of Prime Minister Hwang Kyo-ahn’s visit to the center. Newsis reported that Prime Minister Hwang paid a visit to the center to inspect the sanitary conditions of the center’s kitchen as part of government efforts to prevent food poising this summer.
According to the KPP, thousands of comments were posted under the photo, criticizing Prime Minister Hwang and the center’s officials and calling for changes to the practice of rolling out the red carpet for high-ranking public officials.
“There was an outpouring of complaints from elderly people with limited mobility who were forced to climb up or down the stairs,” reporter Chu explained.
In the 18th presidential election, won by the incumbent president, Park Geun-hye, 79 percent of the voters over 60 casted their ballots, 73 percent of whom voted for Park Geun-hye.
In June, despite strong opposition from the main opposition party, the ruling Saenuri Party unilaterally pushed ahead with a confirmation hearing for then prime minister nominee Hwang Kyo-ahn.
At the confirmation hearing, it was revealed that Hwang had delayed his physical examination for conscription three times and finally got exempted from the nation’s mandatory military service because of skin rashes. Only three out of 3.65 million were exempt from the draft on the grounds of skin problems.
Hwang raked in 1.7 billion won while practicing as a lawyer for only 17 months, sparking controversy over the decades-old practice of offering favorable treatment to ex-judges and ex-prosecutors. Amid growing allegations that Hwang lobbied for special pardons, MINBYUN-Lawyers for a Democratic Society (an NGO comprised of over 900 lawyers) filed a complaint with the Seoul District Prosecutor's Office, alleging that Hwang committed acts of influence peddling and violated the Attorneys-at-Law Act.