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[Editorial] Distorted Information about Media Law Reform

[Editorial] Distorted Information about Media Law Reform

Posted June. 23, 2009 09:29,   


The main opposition Democratic Party and leftist groups claim that the ruling Grand National Party’s bill on media reform will lead to the privatization of the TV networks MBC and KBS2, while allowing government control of the media. They allege that the Lee Myung-bak administration is attempting to revise media law to let major newspapers such as The Dong-A Ilbo and The Chosun Ilbo and large corporations control terrestrial TV networks. In December last year, the MBC union went on strike to oppose the proposed revision and handed out flyers urging the public to “protect” the network.

A state committee on media development formed to gather public opinions on the proposal will adopt a final report after completing its task Thursday. Committee members backed by the ruling party will propose in the report that the ban on newspapers running terrestrial TV channels remains through 2012, when the shift to digital broadcasting is scheduled to be completed.

Democratic Party lawmaker Choi Moon-soon said in a media interview that the panel apparently made the proposal because it was impossible for newspapers and big business to own broadcast networks even if the media law revision was passed. A former MBC president, Choi once said he would resign from parliament if the revision was passed. As a key opponent of the revision, he has acknowledged through his words that he and others deceived the people by using false propaganda of newspapers owning MBC. After the committee’s report was released, he changed his rhetoric by saying the panel adopted detour tactics to hand over news and general broadcast channels to newspapers.

Regardless of the report, the notion that MBC will face privatization is outrageous. The network reportedly has more than 10 trillion won (7.83 billion U.S. dollars) in assets. It is questionable whether a company is willing to buy a broadcaster with a high-cost structure that pays an average yearly salary of 100 million won (78,340 dollars) and an ideological bias.

Claiming to represent the weak, leftist forces want a public opinion poll on the media law revision, yet have remained silent on the fact that the country’s three major networks control nearly 81 percent of the domestic broadcast market.

Nearly all terrestrial broadcasters have recently run programs remembering the late President Roh Moo-hyun, who committed suicide amid his alleged involvement in a bribery scandal. This suggests how fictitious the leftists’ theories are of the incumbent administration trying to control the media. The public should no longer be deceived by the false images presented by those attempting to retain their control over broadcasters.