Distraught Young Jin Baek Upset Over The Publication Of His Image

Another example of cultural insensitivities adding to the distress of immigrants was revealed today in the Star Canterbury with the following report:

“A Korean man found dead on the morning of his wife and two daughters’ funeral was distraught over his photo appearing in a Christchurch daily newspaper along with details about the incident.

Young Jin Baek, 44, was found dead in his Avonhead home on May 9 after flying to Christchurch from South Korea to arrange the funeral.

His wife, Sung Eun Cho, 43, and daughters Holly Yeon Jae Baek, 17, and Kelly Yeon Sue Baek, 13, had been found dead at the home only days earlier. Police said they were not treating the circumstances as suspicious.

The Press photographed Mr Baek as he arrived at Christchurch International Airport and published his picture the following day.

Christchurch Korean Society president Kevin Park told The Star yesterday that Mr Baek was “very upset” about the photo.

He spent hours with Mr Baek the night before he was found dead. “He was repeatedly saying I needed to (help) remove the photo from the press.”

Mr Park said he had spoken to the editor of The Press, Andrew Holden, but was now also considering writing to the New Zealand Press Council over the photograph’s use.

Mr Park said the actions of the newspaper were “inappropriate” and he felt The Press should apologise for publishing the photo of Mr Baek without his permission.

“He was in a devastating situation with his loss,” he said. “The photo coverage added to his loss and his shame as well.

“I wrote to Andrew and said posting the photo affected him (Mr Baek) indirectly.”

The Press removed the photo from its website.

Mr Holden did not return a call from The Star yesterday.

However, Mr Park said that Mr Holden had told him it was a reporter’s right to take a photo in a public place.

The Sunday Star Times also quoted Mr Holden saying he sought to balance the sensitivities of the people involved with the paper’s duty to report.

Mr Park said he would await a formal response from Mr Holden before writing to the press council…”

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