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Pres. of State-run Network Likely to Get Fired

Posted August. 06, 2008 06:44,   


The Board of Audit and Inspection yesterday proposed the firing of Korean Broadcasting System President Jeong Yeon-ju to the network’s board of directors for mismanagement.

If the board agrees, President Lee Myung-bak will decide on the case. If Jeong’s dismissal is confirmed, the KBS board will select a new chief executive within this month.

▽ Quick board decision expected

As soon as the internal government watchdog conveys its inspection results to the KBS board, a meeting at 10 a.m. Thursday will decide Jeong’s fate. Since six of the 11 KBS directors back the Lee administration, the board is likely to propose Jeong’s dismissal to President Lee.

One board member said, “Broadcast law stipulates that the board of directors can hold its president responsible for management. So we will make a decision based on the accumulated deficit of more than 100 billion won over (Jeong’s) five-year presidency.”

If Jeong is fired, the board will quickly recommend his successor to minimize the impact to the state-run network.

The KBS board will receive recommendations for its president next week, and could form a committee to recommend a new chief.

The KBS union proposed recommending a candidate via a committee consisting of eight directors and seven union members. When Jeong’s first term ended in 2006, the network’s board nullified forming a committee and recommended his reelection.

Another director said, “Since the board has the right to recommend a president, it remains flexible how the next president will be elected given the union’s proposal. “

After receiving recommendations, the board will finalize the selection process as early as possible. The new leader will be picked in early September.

The KBS board can refuse the proposal by the Board of Audit and Inspection, which then must submit another decision within two months. If the government internal watchdog arrives at the same conclusion, related organizations must follow it.

▽ Conflicts among unions

Conflicts among media unions are likely to develop if Jeong is fired.

The KBS producers’ association and the National Union of Media Workers have said several times that they will resist attempts to replace Jeong, calling it the Lee administration’s attempt to control broadcasting. They have even threatened to physically prevent the opening of the board meeting Thursday.

The network’s union, however, supports Jeong’s dismissal, saying he got his position as a reward from the former Roh Moo-hyun administration and is incapable.

Tension between the unions of KBS and the media workers is rising as the former expelled three members, including KBS union head Park Seung-gyu, for violating agreements.

The KBS union says the expulsions were meant to protect Jeong. It pledged to respond by leaving the media workers’ union and apply for a provisional disposition on the expulsions.

Messages urging the KBS union to fight the media workers’ union are posted on the network’s intranet.

KBS also said Jeong cannot travel to China and attend the opening ceremony of the Beijing Olympics due to a travel ban placed on him by prosecutors.