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   Textbook authors fight orders to change content
   3990    2009-02-26
Source : The Korea Herald

February 25, 2009

The authors of a high school history textbook filed an administrative lawsuit against the Education Ministry yesterday, demanding it nullify a mandate for revision.

The ministry ordered Kumsung Publishing Co. and five other publishers of modern Korean history textbooks to rewrite 206 passages accused of "distorting facts and undermining national pride" last year.

Three co-authors of the Kumsung textbook, which was used in high schools for the past six years, claimed that the state mandate was illegal and an abuse of discretionary power by the education minister.

The authors are backed by the Lawyers for a Democratic Society, which held a press conference yesterday before submitting the suit to the Seoul Administrative Court.

Early last month, the Seoul Central District Court turned down a petition filed by the authors for a provisional disposition order against their publisher for copyright infringement.

A group of history teachers, students and parents petitioned to the Constitutional Court late last month, claiming the state mandate for revision was unconstitutional as it infringed on the students' right to know.

Several right-wing politicians, economists and political scientists have called on the government since 2005 to revise the modern history textbooks as they contained "left-leaning" views.

Following the inauguration of President Lee Myung-bak early last year, the Defense Ministry, the Unification Ministry, the Korea Chamber of Commerce and Industry and some NGOs officially asked the Education Ministry to make the changes.

The Education Ministry issued an injunction for the revision late October last year, which the authors say "contradicts its own policy of using textbooks by private publishers for the sake of diversity."

By Kim So-hyun

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