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[Opinion] KBS Windfall

Posted October. 19, 2006 03:04,   


KBS, a 100% government invested organization, has never paid the dividend of its earned surplus to the government since 1981. The amount of its earned surplus piled up in its treasury has risen to 740 billion won, which is more than twice of the paid-in capital. The National Assembly and the Ministry of Finance and Economy raised one voice to request that KBS pays the National Treasury, but no movement was made.

The profits, which should be returned to the taxpayers, are being enjoyed by the executive staff of KBS. This is in contrary to the fact that other 11 government invested organizations paid their dividend of 380 billion won to the National Treasury out of their profits.

When KBS had a deficit of 63.8 billion won in 2004 it asked the government for a subsidy. It obtained a 10.4 billion won National Treasury subsidy this year and requested 17.9 billion won for next year. It said its deficit was unavoidable due to the worsened business conditions. It has constitutionalized the act of taking profits when the conditions are good and the national tax when the conditions are bad. KBS is a nonprofit organization unlike other government invested bodies, but even the public universities that seek the public good as much as KBS have the obligation to pay the dividend when they raise profit through business. KBS hoping to be the only exception contradicts impartiality.

KBS point to the special particularity and the independence of broadcasting, but it should first go through restructuring and win the trust of people in order to make its opinion persuasive. Nowadays 80 percent of the audience watches land-based programs not through electric waves but through cables. Watching television through antennas has long become a picture in history, but the output system and the personnel structure stay the same. Moreover the accident last Saturday in which broadcasting was stopped for 20 minutes proves that the entire organization of KBS has become loose. KBS has also been voluntarily giving up its right to mention independence with its acute "regime-code programs.”

The political power is also responsible for the confusion of KBS since it has been offering the carrot. Currently there is not a regulation that mandates KBS to pay the dividend. The Korean Broadcasting Commission should make haste to set forth related stipulations for the sake of cutting the deformed ring and advance the restructuring of KBS.

Hong Chan-sik, Editorial Writer, chansik@donga.com