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Broadcasters’ Strike: Provide Fair Programs!
제 132 호    발행일 : 2012.04.28 

Students who support the broadcasters' strike.

 

 Broadcasters(MBC, KBS, YTN) have come out on strike because the broadcasters’ presidents, who were appointed by the government, put pressure on many programs that criticise government policies. After the Lee Myung-Bak government was established in 2008, the government appointed people who were unqualified for those positions as presidents. The first broadcaster to resist their president’s decision was MBC, which is one of Korea’s main broadcasters. However, the government drew a clear red line against their resistance, so the MBC president has kicked out almost 30 MBC staffs per a year since they held a strike. Consequently, the MBC broadcaster held a larger strike than before, and after that, KBS and YTN broadcasters also joined the strike.  


 There are three reasons why the broadcasters(MBC, KBS, YTN) should strike against the government’s policies. First, they don’t guarantee objective program contents for viewers due to the government’s indirect process of censorship. In a democratic society, viewers have the right to know the pros and cons of government policies. It is an undeniable fact that broadcasting is one way to promise this right. Therefore, broadcasters should make objective programs. Secondly, broadcasters’ professional ethics requires that they have to provide objective programs for viewers. Because their professional ethics is now directly related to their professional identities, they are confused about their professional identities because of the government’s policies. Finally, broadcasters should regain the trust of viewers. An anonymous person who belongs to the MBC labor union said, “Because of consecutive controversies, viewers don’t expect us to make objective programs anymore. In addition, viewers misunderstand that we are also deceiving them with the government. We should perform our duty to correct their misunderstanding.”


 Meanwhile, some people raised their voices in criticism that the broadcasters’ strikes are illegal. To be treated as legal strikes, strikes should be related to workers’ rights. Some people judge that broadcasters’ strikes just have to do with the presidential election, so their strikes are illegal.


 About this fact, an anonymous person who belongs to the MBC labor union said, “We admit that our strikes are apparently illegal, but the government omitted the process of negotiating for workers. We think that this government action takes away our freedom of expression.” Also, he said, "In fact, before 1997, strikes were ordinary because it was  politically very confusing at the time. However, since around 1999, the Korean economy has been in bad shape, so people had no time to strike. Moreover, the government hardly ever intervened in the process of making programs. That is why our young co-workers are now vulnerable to resistance toward the government’s unfair treatment.”


 He also added, "We are sorry for the fact that we aren’t broadcasting programs such as 'Infinite Challenge' due to our strike. In fact, we don’t anticipate the people’s support, but we at least hope that the people can judge correctly about this situation due to our activity.”

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