“South Korea’s so-called ‘trial of the century’ has seen Samsung’s crown prince Lee Jae-yong, the company’s vice-chairman, accused of bribing ousted president Park Geun-hye – but it has also shone new light on the depths of the electronics firm’s media manipulation,” Max S. Kim reports for The Guardian. “The company is awaiting this Friday’s verdict on several of Samsung’s current and former top executives, for their alleged involvement in a political scandal that has rocked South Korea. Lee could face a 12-year jail term if convicted of bribing Park to push through a controversial merger in 2015.”

“One strand of the trial has prompted national debate on Samsung’s oversized influence. Leaked text messages sent to one of the Samsung executives on trial, used as part of the prosecutor’s evidence against the company, have suggested some parts of the national media may have been prepared to collude with Samsung,” Kim reports. “The messages sent in August 2016 to Samsung’s former top lobbyist Jang Chung-gi were first published by media outlets Sisain and Media Today in July and August. They include numerous requests for favours made by media executives and journalists, sent while he was deputy chief of Samsung’s group corporate strategy office. They paint an unambiguous picture of the power dynamic at play, with meticulous use of Korean honorifics and a strikingly deferential tone.”

“One text message from managing editor Kim Byeong-jik at South Korean daily Munhwa Ilbo asks Jang to grant the paper funding in the form of additional advertising contracts, saying: ‘I apologise for the shameless favour I am about to ask of you … I ask that you take interest in and take care of us on this. I’m sorry. I’ll be sure to repay you in the future with good articles and good papers,'” Kim reports. “On the day of Lee’s arrest, the paper published an editorial that lamented the event with the headline: ‘Lee Jae-yong’s arrest and the country where it’s difficult to run a business.'”

“The texts are a window into the troubling relationship between Samsung and the media, which has come under increasing pressure from politicians and freedom of press advocates,” Kim reports. “The brazenness, and some suggest collusive nature, of the leaked texts has struck a harsh chord with South Koreans, but this is not the first time Samsung has been criticised for suppressing critical media coverage.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Ah, the good old corrupt Republic of Samsung. Some things never change.

Samsung is intertwined into South Korea like a stage IV cancer. MacDailyNews, August 7, 2017

Samsungorea. It sounds like a disease because it is. — MacDailyNews, September 11, 2012

Prosecutors seek 12 years in jail for Samsung heir – August 7, 2017
Samsung’s acting head Lee Jae-yong indicted on bribery charges as scandal grows – February 28, 2017
South Korean court approves arrest of Samsung heir Lee Jae-yong – February 16, 2017
South Korean prosecution again seeks arrest of Samsung chief – February 14, 2017
Samsung heir Lee Jae-yong escapes arrest in massive bribery scandal – January 20, 2017
South Korea attempting to handicap Apple by demanding the removal of preinstalled apps like the App Store – July 7, 2016
Korea Fair Trade Commission clears Samsung’s use of standard-essential patents against Apple – February 27, 2014
South Korea, the Republic of Samsung – December 10, 2012
Welcome to South Korea, the ‘Republic of Forgery’ – September 11, 2012
Samsung’s ‘Instinct’ is obviously to make Apple iPhone knockoffs – April 1, 2008

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “AlanAudio” for the heads up.]