President Moon Jae-in has instructed officials to withdraw a criminal complaint filed against a man who was accused of distributing leaflets containing derogatory remarks against the president.
Presidential Spokesperson Park Kyung-mee announced the move in a media briefing on Tuesday, adding Moon accepted an advice that, as the president, he needs to embrace such disparaging attacks.
The president's move came amid criticism that he was seeking to misuse his power to quell the public's freedom of speech with the lawsuit.
The spokesperson, however, refuted the criticism that Moon was reacting excessively to an expression of hatred and derision against him. She said filing the criminal complaint was rather a decision that took into account the impact of the action by the accused on the nation's image, the integrity of the Korean people, inter-Korean relations and the future of the country.
The leaflet disseminated by the man in his 30s reportedly carried photocopies of an article from a Japanese magazine which called Moon a dog for North Korea and allegations of his ties with the North.