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[Editorial] Leftist Politicians’ Resistance to Reform

Posted September. 13, 2008 00:49,   


The National Assembly’s Culture, Sports, Tourism, Broadcasting and Communications Committee has been embroiled in a political fight since its first plenary meeting Monday. Lawmakers from the main opposition Democratic Party wore a badge saying, “Stop making parachute appointments” and denounced the Lee administration for what they called its attempt to control the media. When the committee delivered a work report Wednesday to Korea Communications Commission Chairman Choi See-joong, the DP lawmakers even demanded his resignation.

The party has been desperately trying to defend its influence over the media it established under the previous administration. “If we lose our existing influence over the media, our ability to take power again will be slim,” one DP lawmaker said. The party considers the committee the frontline for its all-out war. It recently threatened to strike back after joining hands with civic groups to overcome its numerical disadvantage in parliament. A fierce battle is expected to take place both in and outside of the committee.

A head-to-head confrontation is also inevitable over the revision of the Newspaper Act, which has been declared unconstitutional by the Constitutional Court. Despite the need for the law`s revision or repeal given that it includes many “poisonous articles” infringing on freedom of the press, the opposition party is against it. On rectifying the unbalanced composition of employees in affiliates of the Culture, Sports and Tourism Ministry and the leftist policies on culture and art introduced by the previous administration, the DP is determined not to back down without a fight against the ruling Grand National Party and cultural leaders.

The DP should not delude itself into believing that keeping left-wing public broadcasters is a good way of maintaining its influence over the media. No matter what the party`s vested interests are, public broadcasters that air TV programs denying Korea’s national identity must return to normal. Certain articles of the Newspaper Act undoubtedly contradict market economy and liberal democracy upon which the Constitution is based. Solving these grave problems is not subject to political bickering or negotiations.

The left-leaning slant has shaken the identity of the country by forcing the people to believe North Korea no longer poses a threat and that South Korea is a problem-ridden nation. This misleading message exerts an evil influence on future generations. Educational superintendents across the nation have recently agreed not to adopt left-leaning history textbooks. The DP, however, is also protesting this decision. It is time for the government to show its determination and push for media reform, as well as reform of education and culture.