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Chairman Park Asked for “Recommendation for Reappointment”

Chairman Park Asked for “Recommendation for Reappointment”

Posted December. 27, 2004 23:00,   


Culture and Tourism Minister Chung Dong-chea confirmed his ministry’s decision to reject the reappointment of the chairperson of the Korea Press Foundation on Monday, saying, “The participatory government’s principle of appointing heads of affiliated organizations prohibits the reappointment. I am not going to take long time to select the chairperson if the Korea Press Foundation provides a recommendation for a new head of the Foundation.”

In a talk with reporters, Chung cited a precedent set in January 2001 when the government won the supreme court case following the Ministry of Health and Welfare’s rejection of the appointment of a chairman of one of its affiliated hospitals. “No matter what proper reason lay behind the rejection, the appointment of a head of an affiliated organization depends on relevant authorities’ decision.”

The Culture and Tourism Minister revealed that he personally recommended Seo Dong-gu, former president of KBS, as the next chairperson at a meeting with Park Kee-jung, the incumbent chairman before the board meeting. Chung said, “Mr. Seo has pretty good ideas about the direction that the news media has to follow. Since he had experience, he resigned from his former job on the 11th day after his appointment in 2003 and I asked Mr. Park to help the appointment of Mr. Seo be accepted. However, Mr. Park replied, ‘There is something we have to work with (in order to have his appointment passed).’ I had no idea that Mr. Park wanted to be reappointed.” Asked if the nomination of Mr. Seo, who had served as a presidential media advisor in the Roh Moo-hyun administration, was a kind of “code” appointment, he answered, “I think it’s natural that a person sharing similar ideas with the government would be nominated to be the head of a media organization with government financial support, including the 12.1 billion won commission for the government’s public service advertising. I think “code” could be involved in the appointment.”

Incumbent chairman Park, who had promised to decide his course of action by Monday, revealed on Monday afternoon that “I will take time to decide the timing of the recommendation.” In a telephone interview with a reporter, Mr. Park said, “I don’t think it is proper to ask for a recommendation right after the head of the authority concerned rejected the appointment, so I will put off the timing of the recommendation” “However, in order to follow official procedures, the Foundation will definitely offer the recommendation whether the Culture Minister approves it or not,” he said. The incumbent chairman’s term ends on December 31.

Meanwhile, the Grand National Party criticized the ruling camp’s pressure on the resignation of the current chairman of the Korea Press Foundation, calling it “political media policy.” At its standing committee meeting on the same day, Grand National Party floor leader Kim Deog-ryong claimed, “[The ruling party] is forcing the current chairman of the Korea Press Foundation, who was elected in accordance with due procedures, to step down, saying that he is not within its code. The current regime has to immediately stop its partial and political policy toward the media.” GNP chief policymaker Lee Kang-too also criticized the government, saying, “The government’s intension to control the media by ruling media organizations which manage newspaper development funds is behind its effort to force Mr. Park out of office.”

Eun-Ryung Chong Yeon-Wook Jung ryung@donga.com jyw11@donga.com