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Korean journalists can be invited to foreign company’s new product launch event


Korean journalists can be invited to foreign company’s new product launch event

ACRC says inviting Korean journalists to company’s new product launch event does not violate the Improper Solicitation and Graft Act


The Anti-Corruption and Civil Rights Commission (ACRC, Chairperson Pak Un Jong) announced that under the Improper Solicitation and Graft Act, a foreign company can invite Korean journalists for its new product launch and provide them with flight tickets, accommodations, and food of the same level offered to other journalists from countries around the world.

The Improper Solicitation and Graft Act took effect in September 2016 in Korea. Under the law, Korean journalists are prohibited from receiving benefits related to their duties. However, under Article 8 (3) 6 of the Act, they are allowed to receive air fare, accommodations, and food which are uniformly provided within a normal range by the organizer of duty-related official events.

This might lead to a misunderstanding that companies should invite all Korean journalists at their new product launch event. If it is recognized that there is an understandable reason to limit participants due to characteristics, purpose and conditions of the event, however, the organizer can select and invite participants based on reasonable standards. In this case, air fare, accommodation and food can be provided if they are equivalent to those provided at similar events, and unless they are offered excessively to certain individuals.

An official from the ACRC said, “The purpose of the Improper Solicitation and Graft Act is to prevent public servants, etc. stated in the law from performing their duties in an unfair manner influenced by financial benefits received from duty-related persons. The law is not about banning journalists from covering official event of new product launch.” He added, “I hope that foreign companies will not misunderstand that they should not invite Korean journalists at their new product launch event.


【Attachment】Applicable Provision of Improper Solicitation and Graft Act

Article 8 (Prohibition of Receipt of Money, Goods, etc.)

(1) No public servant, etc. shall accept, request, or promise to receive any money, goods, etc. exceeding one million won at a time or three million won in a fiscal year from the same person, regardless of any connection to his/her duties and regardless of any pretext such as donation, sponsorship, gift, etc.

(2) No public servant, etc. shall, in connection with his/her duties, accept, request, or promise to receive any money, goods, etc. not exceeding the amount prescribed by paragraph (1), regardless of whether the money, goods, etc. are given as part of any quid pro quo.

(3) An honorarium for an outside lecture, etc. described in Article 10, or any of the following shall not constitute money, goods, etc., the receipt of which is prohibited by paragraph (1) or (2):

1. Money, goods, etc. that a public institution offers to its public servants, etc. and seconded public servants, etc.; or a senior public servant, etc. offers to subordinate public servants, etc. for purposes of consolation, encouragement, reward, etc.;
2. Money, goods, etc. the value of which is within the limits specified by Presidential Decree, in the form of food and beverages, congratulatory or condolence money, gifts, etc. offered for purposes of facilitating performance of duties, social relationships, rituals, or aid;
3. Money, goods, etc. offered from a legitimate source of right such as payment of debts (excluding donation) incurred in a private transaction;
4. Money, goods, etc. provided by relatives (relatives defined in Article 777 of the Civil Act) of a public servant, etc.;
5. Money, goods, etc. provided by employees' mutual aid societies, clubs, alumni associations, hometown associations, friendship clubs, religious groups, social organizations, etc., related to a public servant, etc. to their members in accordance with the rules prescribed by respective organizations; and money, goods, etc. offered by those who have long-term and continuous relationships with a public servant, etc., such as a member of the aforementioned groups, to the public servant, etc. who is in need due to a disease, disaster, etc.;
6. Money, goods, etc., provided uniformly in a normally accepted range by an organizer of an official event related to the duties of a public servant, etc. to all participants thereof, in the form of transportation, accommodation, food and beverages, etc.;
7. Souvenirs, promotional goods, etc. to be distributed to multiple unspecified persons, or awards or prizes given in a contest, a raffle, or a lottery;
8. Money, goods, etc. permitted by other Acts, subordinate statutes, standards, or societal rules and norms.