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Conservatives, Liberals Clash Over MBC Broadcast

Posted June. 21, 2008 04:59,   


With conservative civic groups blaming MBC for its biased broadcasting on U.S. beef allegedly susceptible to mad cow disease and liberal netizens with opposite opinions clashed Friday as they staged demonstrations in front of the MBC building simultaneously.

According to police estimates, about 1,000 members of conservative groups including the National Movement Headquarters and the National Coalition of New Light held protests against MBC for what they believe its incendiary broadcasting over mad cow disease in front of the gate of the broadcaster in Seoul.

The participants clashed with some 100 liberal civic organization members and netizens who gathered at the same venue. Some right-wing group members snatched and broke the flags from a liberal group called the “Coalition for 2MB Impeachment,” and provoked an MBC camera reporter and a PD from the Hankyoreh, blaming them for prejudiced coverage.

In the process, some participants became upset, cursed and swore at each other, and even engaged in fistfights. Meanwhile, around 3 p.m., Jin Jung-gwon, a professor at Chung-Ang University and leftist social critic was intervened by the conservative group members as he tried to have interviews with the people.

Police dispatched about 600 riot police to prevent the clash between the groups. The conservatives claimed, “The ungrounded rumor over mad cow disease originated from MBC’s distorted and one-sided coverage, which is throwing the nation into chaos and confusion.” They demanded MBC stop its unfair broadcasting over U.S. beef.

The protesters chanted slogans such as “MBC should abolish ‘PD Notebook’ which is full of false information and incendiary coverage” and “Boycott biased broadcasters like MBC and KBS.” They also staged a performance in which a banner featuring the MBC building was ripped apart by a knife.

They said they will hold an indefinite protest in front of the house of MBC President Eom Gi-young starting next Tuesday until he apologizes for MBC’s biased broadcasting and abolishes the TV program.

They also said they would disclose the three corporations that have given financial contribution most via ads to the program, which they believe triggered the candle light vigils, lead a campaign to pressure advertisers to withdraw their ads, and launch a boycott against their products.

Meanwhile, the People`s Association for Countermeasures Against Mad Cow Disease marched the streets in protest including Jongno, Myeong-dong and Gangnam subway station. They distributed fliers and stickers to citizens, encouraging them to participate in another candlelight protest scheduled on Saturday.

A police source said, “The organization seemingly hopes more than 20,000 citizens to participate in the planned demonstration, but we believe that the number is likely to remain around 10,000. The group is having trouble maintaining a certain number of participants as a host of citizens have lost interest in their protests in recent days.”

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