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EBS Jumps On Liberalism Bandwagon

Posted May. 03, 2005 23:06,   


Major current events programs on the radio at 6:00-9:00 a.m., the time when most commuters tune in, are expected to cause controversy because of their liberal hosts.

The hosts at the heart of the controversy are Sohn Gwan-soo (40) of Korea Broadcasting System’s (KBS) Radio One, director of announcer bureau Sohn Seok-hee (49) of the Munhwa Broadcasting Corporation (MBC), Jin Jung-gwon (42) of the Seoul Broadcasting System (SBS), and Sohn Seok-chun (45) of the Educational Broadcasting System (EBS).

SBS replaced the host of “SBS Outlook” of Love FM (broadcast at 6:05 a.m. Monday through Saturday) from Um Gwang-seok to Jin Jung-gwon, a well-known liberalist commentator.

This program, with its motto: “liberals are a step ahead of times,” has shown a liberal point of view throughout a range of political, cultural and social issues. Most guests of the program are liberal reporters from various Internet media sources, such as Media Today, Pressian and Prometheus.

On Feb. 28, EBS moved its “Morning Special” program, an English educational program, two hours earlier, from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 a.m., and added the liberal current issues program, “The EBS World FM Sohn Seok-chun Show (broadcast at 8:00 a.m. Monday through Saturday)” into the slot.

After the show started, EBS had to field the complaints from listeners who said the current issues program did not comply with its educational broadcasting mandate.

Sohn Gwan-soo of KBS Radio One’s “Good Morning, This Is Sohn Gwan-soo” is famous for his liberal viewpoint. He recently posted an article on the KBS labor union’s revelation of management’s illegal eavesdropping on its union meeting, saying, “It was a conspiracy aimed at throwing the president of KBS, Jung Yun-joo, out, and defeating reform efforts.”

Director Sohn Seok-hee of MBC FM’s “Sohn Seok-hee’s Focus on Current Events (broadcast at 6:05 a.m. Monday through Saturday)” is one of the figures who see eye to eye on reform efforts with Choi Mun-soon, a new president of KBS. The program is the indisputable champion of its time slot in terms of audience rating.

Park In-gyu, president of Pressian, hosts “Focus Interview” on KBS Radio One at 2:30 p.m., and talks one-to-one with listeners. Kim Eo-jun (37) of Ddanzi, an Internet news media outlet, is leading “Kim Eo-jun’s Internet World” on SBS (7:10 a.m. on Sunday), following “Current Events, Today and Tomorrow” on CBS.

Lee Young-il, a producer of “SBS Outlook,” said, “Jin Jung-gwon was chosen not because he is liberal but because he is eloquent and able to hit the nail on the head when throwing questions.”

However, some programs are under criticism for losing their balanced view because they invite guests of only one side on highly divided social issues.

To celebrate Press Day on March 7, “Sohn Seok-chun Show” invited Sin Hak-lim, a member of the labor union media, and released the opinion regarding the press law that the “falling credence of the press comes from major news companies endorsing particular political parties. Therefore, the press law should be enacted.”

In addition, on the issue of human rights law in North Korea supported by the opposition Grand National Party, the program emphasized the negative impacts of the North Korea human rights law with Lee Chul-gi, a professor at Dong-guk University, saying, “The law discourages the North from reforming and opening the country, and worsens the inter-Korean relationship.”

Jung-Bo Suh suhchoi@donga.com