Korean unions strike for independence of broadcasting
MBC TV and KBS TV unions in Korea went on strike yesterday to fight for the freedom of public service broadcasting. About 3000 union members from all professions within the companies joined the action, which started at 2pm at MBC TV and at 3pm at the KBS TV head office in Yoido, Seoul. This was a historic event bringing the two unions together in collective action for the second time, after the first joint action in 2008 which targeted political intervention in broadcasting.
In the KBS TV union rally Mr. Kim Whan-Kyun, NUMW President recalled that "during the last 9 years we have never stopped fighting for the public values of broadcasting. We have been through a number of difficult times but this fight will be the last one for our victory." He continued that their first goal is to bring about the stepping down of Mr. Koh Dae-Young, KBS TV CEO, but that their final goal is to restore the collapsed KBS TV to the service of the citizen of Korea.
Mr. Sung Jae-Ho, KBS TV Union president revealed his emotion saying that "this fight is for our survival. We were not happy at all and could not find any kind of sense of achievement in our work over the last 9 years. Therefore Mr. Koh Dae-Young who is responsible for the collapse of KBS TV must leave right now. And we need to restore our hope and identity."
Mr. Kim Jang-Kyum, CEO of MBC TV, has been accused of compiling a blacklist of employees, based on their ideological and personal views.
The Employment and Labor Ministry recently conducted a special labor inspection on MBC TV and KBS TV but the two CEOs rejected to attend. A warrant has been issued for their arrest for refusing to cooperate which has caused a drift among the political parties, the conservatives strongly opposing the warrant and as a result boycotting the plenary session of the national assembly. The unions however have welcomed the warrant as a measure that is right and appropriate, and call for a judiciary procedure.
In addition to MBC TV and KBS TV, three union leaders for YTN were dismissed and have only recently returned to work after 3294 days of dismissal.
The Korean unions are fighting tirelessly to restore the independence of public service broadcasting and to return KBS TV and MBC TV to the service of the Korean people.