A local court has denied an arrest warrant for the chief of the nation's broadcasting watchdog, who is accused of being involved in the alleged manipulation of the broadcasting license renewal evaluation of a right-leaning cable TV channel in 2020.
The Seoul Northern District Court on Thursday rejected the prosecution's warrant request for Korea Communications Commission(KCC) Chairman Han Sang-hyuk, citing room for contention on major charges.
The court also said that the extent of evidence collected so far and the progress of the investigation renders the risk of destroying evidence unlikely, and placing Han under arrest may excessively limit his right to defend himself.
A pretrial warrant to detain the KCC chief on charges of obstruction of official duties by hierarchy was requested last week.
Prosecutors suspect that the KCC deliberately slashed the evaluation score of TV Chosun during its renewal review under the liberal Moon Jae-in administration in 2020.
TV Chosun received low scores in key categories, such as responsible and objective broadcasting, in the review that resulted in conditional approval.