KOREA TIMES’ KIM HYUN-BIN WRITES – Public calls are growing for the closure of an entertainment media outlet for violating entertainers’ privacy rights.

The negative sentiment toward Dispatch, notorious for revealing celebrity dating stories by constantly following them, came after the tabloid broke the news that popular boy band EXO’s Kai and girl band BLACKPINK’s Jennie are dating, on Jan. 1.

As of Friday, there are 16 petitions on Cheong Wa Dae website urging the government to disband it, all of which were posted following the “Kai-Jennie” news.

“Dispatch is a group that is on standby to secretly follow singers, actors, athletes and all celebrities and take pictures of them without permission,” said a petitioner, adding that it is an invasion of privacy and infringement of human rights.

“Before being celebrities, they are human beings that have the right to privacy, but Dispatch has ignored it. Just because they are celebrities, their human rights are not respected. Is this the right thing to do? Celebrities are also Korean citizens and they have rights.”

Another said, “We are urging Dispatch to stop illegally stalking celebrities.”

One of the petitions garnered more than 20,000 signatories.

The presidential office makes it a rule to respond to petitions exceeding 200,000 supporting signatures.

Dispatch made a name for itself by exposing a secret celebrity couple on the first day of every new year since 2013.

On Tuesday, Dispatch reported the romance, publishing pictures taken last November of them walking and holding hands at a park in Seoul.

Dispatch exclusively reported on scores of secret celebrity relationships, including actor Song Joong-ki and actress Song Hye-kyo.

Reprinted through the courtesy of the Korea Times, a leading English-language newspaper from Seoul, South Korea.

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