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President Roh Strongly Criticizes KBS

Posted March. 21, 2007 07:12,   


President Roh Moo-hyun strongly criticized KBS yesterday, saying, “The recent KBS special program that calls the government to task for excluding KBS from the Act on Operation of Public Agencies is one of examples that demonstrate the broadcasting company’s egoism and abuse of power.”

During a cabinet meeting presided over by President Roh yesterday, when responding to a question about criticism over the application of the Act on Operation of Public Agencies and its negative effects on freedom of speech and expression, President Roh said, “I can’t find any link between the application of this law and freedom of speech and expression,” adding, “The legislature, the judicature, and the mass media should respectively have the right to assign their budgets and keep mutual control. This is the way we should go.”

Roh also said that, “Recently, KBS lobbied about 60 assemblymen for the revision of this law. This is an act against the government’s authority and an abuse of power by a powerful group,” and ordered relevant ministries to take proper actions against it.

It is unprecedented for President Roh to criticize KBS.

The Act on Operation of Public Agencies, which comes into effect April 1, makes public agencies go through an examination by the Steering Committee on Public Agency Operation under the Ministry of Planning and Budget when appointing executives and to publicly announce information about their careers. However, KBS, EBS, and the Press Union are demanding that the government exclude KBS and EBS from the law, saying, “This legislative change will undermine the role of the mass media as a neutral body.”

In addition, 61 lawmakers, including Rep. Jeon Byeong-heon, who belongs to the political body for creation of new party, said that, “We proposed this amendment because this legislation is likely to hamper the freedom and independence of broadcasting companies.”

Responding to this, Ryu Hyeon-sun, head of KBS external policy team, said, “Our demand is just to exclude KBS from the application of this law in order to protect the company’s independence, and to maintain our public broadcasting system.”

jyw11@donga.com zozo@donga.com