The Hankyoreh February 17, 2009

More than 100 journalists, including Lim Jae-gyeong, former vice president of The Hankyoreh, third from left, announce their opposition to the ruling Grand National Party’s plan to revise media-related laws in front of the Seoul Press Center on February 16.


Former Hankook Ilbo editorial writer Jung Kyung-hee, former Hankyoreh Vice President Lim Jae-kyung, former DongA Ilbo Editor-in-Chief Jang Haeng-hun, and 105 other senior journalists gathered at the Seoul Press Center on Taepyeongno Boulevard Monday to denounce media-related legislation being pushed by the ruling Grand National Party as “evil media legislation” that “kills democracy.”

Together they signed and issued an “Emergency Declaration by Media Professionals Opposed to the Media Policy of the Current Administration,” the second such emergency appeal by Korean journalists. The first came in the form of a similar document released on October 22 of last year by 7,800 current and former heads of nine journalists’ organizations, including the Korea Journalists Association and the Korea Producers and Directors Association.

The statement, signed in the names of “Media professionals concerned about the future of the Korean news media” and released in a special press conference, claims “the so-called ‘big bang in the media’ the current administration likes to talk about will appear in the form of a massive ‘monster media corporation’” that dominates the news and calls for the proposed legislation to be withdrawn.

“If the big business chaebol and newspaper oligarchies like the Chosun Ilbo, JoongAng Ilbo and DongA Ilbo are allowed by the ‘evil media legislation’ to come to own even terrestrial broadcasting networks, television news channels and comprehensive program channels, dinosaur-like oligarchic media companies are going to almost absolutely dominate this country’s news,” said the statement.

Claiming that the Chosun Ilbo, JoongAng Ilbo, and DongA Ilbo “faithfully carried out their roles as the publicity organs of those in power during the military dictatorships,” the 108 senior journalists said the three newspapers “still only speak for the positions of those in power and those with privilege, and ignore the appeals of Korean people who are having their livelihoods threatened and voice concern about democracy.”

“If newspapers like those come to own broadcasting networks, too, Korean society will be one in which diversity in news and a media that serves the public will be dead.” In its place, the statement said, would live “only an overwhelming amount of one-sided information and opinion that serves the privileged.”

The statement also says it would “not be possible” to have broadcasting networks owned by big business chaebol investigate corruption or other irregularities on the part of the big business chaebol.

“If the current administration has the ‘evil media legislation’ forced through the National Assembly, it will be remembered in the history of democracy as an unforgivable sinner,” the group went on to say. “We intend to put up a fight, together with the people, to resist this ‘evil legislation.’”

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