Go to contents

Ruling Party Mulls Ways to Pass Media Revision Bill

Posted July. 13, 2009 08:25,   


Today marks the deadline the ruling Grand National Party suggested for its discussions over the media reform bill, meaning a showdown is expected in parliament.

The ruling party has reconfirmed its intent to deliberate the media reform bill in the extra parliamentary session and is scrambling to develop a strategy to pass the bill.

The main opposition Democratic Party unexpectedly ended its parliamentary boycott yesterday but is determined to block its rival from railroading the bill.

The ruling party will hold last-minute discussions over alternative media bills submitted by the Democratic Party and the minor conservative Liberty Forward Party by convening successive meetings of the parliamentary culture, sports, tourism, broadcasting and communication committee today through Wednesday.

The Democratic Party, however, plans to snub standing committee meetings without consultations on schedule between party secretaries.

Na Kyung-won, the ruling party’s secretary for the committee, and her Democratic Party counterpart Jun Byung-heon failed to narrow differences in a one-hour TV debate on the matter Saturday night.

Na said yesterday, “At this point, I see no possibility for our party to reach an agreement with the Democratic Party,” adding, “However, we will consider accepting the Democratic Party’s demand for what it calls the devising of measures to prevent monopoly in the media industry after the introduction of the media reform bill.”

Jun said, “Once discussions between party leaders at the National Assembly end, I will discuss the schedules for parliamentary standing committees with the Grand National Party’s secretary.”

The ruling party is devising a strategy to get the media reform bill passed at the culture and broadcasting committee this week, and to get it approved in the main Assembly session.

It set Thursday as its initial “D-day” for the bill’s passage after deliberating on a bill to extend Korean troop deployment in Lebanon at the main session through a consensus of rival parties Wednesday.

The ruling party, however, is reportedly considering postponing the media bill’s approval to July 20-23 since extreme conflict ahead of Constitution Day Friday could incur the public’s wrath.

Even if the media reform bill is approved by the culture and broadcasting committee, it is virtually impossible for the bill to pass the parliamentary legislation and judiciary committee, which is chaired by the Democratic Party.

For this reason, some say the ruling party must get the bill directly submitted to the main session by the National Assembly speaker, who would invoke his authority, without going through the culture committee.

In that case, the ruling party’s revised bill could be deliberated by holding a main parliamentary session July 23 or 24 through a submission of the bill by the speaker.

National Assembly Speaker Kim Hyong-o said in a TV interview Saturday, “I’ll have no choice but to submit a bill invoking my authority if I deem it unjust that a bill, which should be deliberated under a public consensus, industrial needs and national demand, is blocked by a minority party.”