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[Editorial] Downfall of KBS

Posted July. 25, 2008 08:53,   


The Korean Broadcasting System (KBS) is degrading to a hotbed of some media groups, the opposition Democratic Party and left-wing forces who openly declare a “war” against the Lee Myung-bak administration. Their irrational occupation lies in their wrong perception that the current KBS is theirs. Even KBS President Jung Yun-joo, who was appointed in a “parachute employment” by former President Roh Moo-hyun still refuses to resign, despite the shift in the administration. When rumors spread that his stepping down is imminent, leftist groups descended on the public network to force the board of directors to dismiss using force on Wednesday.

No recommendation to sack the current KBS president was included in the agenda on that day. Nonetheless, some workers who heard the wrong rumors struggled to rush into the meeting hall, holding pickets reading “We should prevent seizure of the network.” Protesters including members of “Agora” on portal site Daum kept Park Man, an executive of KBS, from entering the meeting and even drilled a hole into his automobile’s tires. Outside the building, members of the Democratic Party, the Democratic Labor Party and the media trade union staged a rally, demanding to halt the board of directors’ meeting.

The Democratic Party in the protest were successors of the party mainly responsible for appointing Jung following another crony appointment of Seo Dong-gu, a confidant of former President Roh, as president of KBS during the Roh administration. Despite these facts, they are showing no sign of remorse for what they have done.

Although the leftist forces call on “the broadcaster’s independence,” their argument isn’t convincing at all, given that the current KBS president is still in post. They argue that the next KBS president will be closely tied with President Lee, but it remains to be seen. So far, several KBS executives including the managing director have been replaced with personnel appointed by the Lee administration. The leftists, however, tried to mobilize outside forces, asking candlelight protesters to protect KBS. Their argument of securing the network’s broadcasting independence is just nothing short of an excuse to keep Jung in the current position and attempt to secure their vested interest. Their intent is to use Jung to maintain broadcasting at their will.

The KBS labor union drew a clear line about President Jung, calling on him to resign for his poor management. Some experts say that the deficit of the network would reach 100 billion won this year. Jung should step down immediately. Moreover, the public network should not be reduced to a propaganda tool for the leftist forces.