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MBC Appoints 40-Year-Olds as Department Heads

Posted February. 28, 2005 22:48,   


Choi Moon-soon (49), president of Munhwa Broadcasting Corporation (MBC) surprised many on February 28 by appointing unexpected figures as executive managing directors and heads of departments.

Choi appointed those who had joined the broadcasting company three years before or after he had as executive managing directors and heads of departments, except for Shin Joing-in (58) as executive vice president and Goh Seok-mahn (57) as executive managing director of television production. Only Eom Ki-young, executive managing director of special events, became a holdover in the personnel reshuffle.

Most of the newly appointed executive managing directors, including Chung Heung-bo (49) of News and Sports, have a mild personality. Meanwhile, new heads of departments who are responsible for overall program production in the field are mostly those who have long shared a “progressive code” with president Choi. Against this backdrop, it is expected that news and news magazine programs would stress a “reformative” line, while media review programs will raise their voices in criticizing the media.

Shin Yong-jin (48), head of the news and sports department, has made moderate progressive comments in a column titled, “A review on politics by Shin Yong-jin” in the “News Today” program (6:00 a.m., Monday through Friday) of MBC TV.

Jung Il-yoon (51), head of news and production, is a former executive of the commission on democratic broadcasting of the MBC labor union. He took the lead in issuing a comment titled, “Deploring the unreasonable views of the media,” refuting the accusation that news reports of the broadcasting company was tilted in favor of President Roh while the impeachment motion was being pushed forward. Jung also ran a statement which he said, “President Lee Geung-hee and Executive Managing Director Gu Bon-hong of news and sports should resign, taking responsibility for MBC news being excessively conservative,” along with former union leaders, including president Choi, on the company-wide bulletin board in January.

Choi Jin-yong (47), head of the Current Affairs and Cultural Programs department, produced progressive programs like “Japanese collaborators are alive” and “SOFA: an indulgence of the U.S. Army?” while producing “PD Diary” from 2002 to 2004. He also received a warning from the Election Broadcasting Deliberation Committee under the Korea Broadcasting Commission for the program, “Japanese collaborators are alive,” which was aired in February last year, as the program included the report that the father of a GNP lawmaker identified as Choi had worked as the head of a township under Japanese colonial rule.

Jung Kil-hwa (46), head of the public relations and deliberation department, was a PD who built his career in the program, “We can talk now”. He was also involved in controversy that he checked GNP Chairwoman Park Geun-hye in the runup to last year’s general elections by airing a trilogy highlighting the faults of former President Park Jung-hee.

He argued, “The straightening up of past history and media reform should go hand in hand since media giants are opposed to investigation into past history to maintain their vested interest,” in a debate in September last year organized by the Citizens’ Coalition for Democratic Media (CCDM).

Sohn Seok-hee (49), the head of the announcer department, is closely associated with the union who had been arrested as a key figure of the union in the 1992 strike.

Also, Lee Eun-gyu (49), a CP, was appointed as the head of the drama department, while Kim Young-hee, the PD of “Exclamation Mark,” was promoted to the head of the entertainment department just 10 days after he was promoted from manger to deputy general manger.

The MBC labor union (head : Kim Sang-hoon) expressed its acceptance of the personnel reshuffle, saying, “There is no figure that we require to be sacked, and we decided to respect the appointment authority of the president.”

A high-ranking official in management said, “MBC programs are likely to be produced based on the “progressive code” from now on, as progressive figures are appointed as heads of departments,” adding, “As most of them were promoted from deputy general manager, former deputy heads of departments and general mangers are in an awkward situation in a way.”

Jung-Bo Suh suhchoi@donga.com