The Korean government’s decision not to disclose most of its documents related to the Sewol ferry disaster is setting off speculation that it might try to withhold some damaging information from the public.
According to data released Monday, the Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries set aside about 480 documents related to the tragedy for internal use. The ministry, however, has made public only 135 of those records, keeping over 70 percent of the content hidden from public scrutiny.
In contrast, according to the Center for Freedom of Information and Transparent Society, the ministry disclosed over half of the 164,000 documents created before the sinking, between July 2013 and April 2014.
Government bodies in South Korea are required to release information that each agency keeps or manages. It can refuse to release the data only if it views that the disclosure could significantly harm the interests of the nation or breach people’s privacy.
Some of the documents kept sealed reportedly involve information on requests for rescue and the possibility of salvage work in the aftermath of the Sewol tragedy.
By Suh Ye-seul (firstname.lastname@example.org)