Thursday, May 22, 2008

[The Hankyoreh, May 13 2008] [Editorial] Korea Communications Commission: Questionable neutrality

They’re saying that Korea Communications Commission head Choi Si-jung was at a barbeque party held over the weekend at a guesthouse near the Blue House. The event was a reception for recently erstwhile members of the media who helped President Lee Myung-bak during his campaign. The head of the KCC is supposed to maintain independence, and it is very inappropriate for him to be attending what was an extremely private meeting.


The KCC was already facing criticism for its behavior in the recent mad cow disease controversy. A KCC official is said to have telephoned the Internet portal site Daum and demanded that it delete user comments critical of the president’s handling of the matter of American beef imports. The official explanation is that it was Daum that contacted the KCC, which merely responded. But questions remain because, by the looks of it, it is possible that an official who knew that his boss is close with the president may have gone overboard in making a demonstration of his loyalty. Choi needs to keep in mind that his every action sends a signal to KCC officials.

Comments by Choi at the Cabinet meeting of May 6 have also stirred controversy. “Beef is becoming more of an issue because the media is making an issue of it,” he said.

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