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Main opposition steps up claims of gov't attempt to control media

2017/09/08 17:51

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SEOUL, Sept. 8 (Yonhap) -- The main opposition Liberty Korea Party (LKP) on Friday ramped up its claim of a government attempt to control the media, amid a report that the ruling party wrote a plan to oust executives of two broadcasters allegedly in favor of the conservative bloc.

The local daily Chosun Ilbo reported that the Democratic Party (DP) had produced an internal document delineating a set of concrete steps to drive out the top officials of MBC and KBS through a campaign involving civic groups.

The DP scurried to contain the fallout from the report, saying the "unofficial" document appeared to have been produced by its working-level officials with no directives or involvement of senior party members.

But the LKP was quick to use the document to intensify its offensive against the liberal ruling camp.

"(The ruling bloc) has been saying it hopes to normalize public broadcasters, but it appears to have made a disingenuous, malicious attempt to hold sway over the media," Chung Woo-taik, the party's floor leader, said during a meeting with senior party members.

Chung Woo-taik (C), the floor leader of the main opposition Liberty Korea Party, speaks during a meeting with senior party officials at the National Assembly in Seoul on Sept. 8, 2017. (Yonhap) Chung Woo-taik (C), the floor leader of the main opposition Liberty Korea Party, speaks during a meeting with senior party officials at the National Assembly in Seoul on Sept. 8, 2017. (Yonhap)

"This would be subject to citizens' judgment and be checked by our party," he added.

The LKP has been boycotting all parliamentary sessions, except security-related ones, in an angry response to a court's issuance last week of a warrant to detain MBC President Kim Jang-kyom over alleged unfair labor practices.

The ruling party has called the warrant part of a legitimate investigation process, but the LKP claims it is a scheme to punish the leaders of public broadcasters that critics say have sided with past conservative governments.

Earlier in the day, the LKP staged a rally inside the National Assembly's lobby, lashing out at what it calls an attempt to take control of the media. It plans to hold another rally on a larger scale over the weekend to lambaste Moon's policies.

Ruling party officials voiced frustration, arguing the swirling speculation about the document was warped.

"Of course, the document was not reported to or delivered to the party leadership," Park Hong-geun, a party spokesman, said in a text message sent to reporters. "The claim that our party is implementing what was written in the document is an exaggerated speculation."

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