[Press Conference] Joint Action to Stop Media Hijacking

by | Jun 14, 2024 | Free Speech, Press Release | 0 comments

28 May, 2024

The KCSC is a consensus-based organization consisting of 9 members. The Broadcasting Act and Act On The Establishment And Operation Of Korea Communications Commission stipulate that the KCSC is a private, independent organization that conducts broadcasting, information, and communication deliberations. However, the status of the KCSC as a ‘consensus-based private independent organization’ has become a past tense. Since August last year, it has never operated as a nine-member body, as opposition members have been dismissed. Moreover, the number of presidentially appointed commissioners exceeded the number stipulated by law.

It began with the appointment of Ryu Hee-rim, a high-handed personnel administration by President Yun Seok-yul. The nominating committee members elected Ryu Hee-rim by their vote. Since then, the KCSC has faced criticism that it has become a tool of media hijacking, with its deliberations targeting public broadcasters and critical media. Now, under the Ryu Hee-rim regime, the KCSC is about to abandon even the veneer of being a consensus body through so-called “committee member muzzling” amendments, including amendments to the Basic Rules of the KCSC and amendments to the Rules on the Organization and Operation of Subcommittees.

Once the rules are changed, the chair can arbitrarily limit other members’ speaking time under the pretext of “efficiently conducting the meeting.” They can issue warnings, impose restraints, and even stop or adjourn the meeting to “maintain order.” If the meeting is stopped after midnight, it will automatically end and the agenda will be discarded. In the past, whenever opposition committee members have mentioned allegations of graft, Ryu Hee-rim has silenced them, citing police investigations and the National Rights and Interests Commission probe. The amendments will legitimize Ryu’s outrageous statements and will eliminate democratic and rational debate and deliberation within the consensus body of the KCSC.

The proposed rule amendment would allow for a majority vote in a four-member subcommittee, allowing for major decisions to be made by just two members. This would allow the controversial decision to uphold the urgent review of the Newstapa citation complaint to be upheld by a vote of only two members of the Passport Nominating Committee. It also relaxes the standing committee composition requirements to justify the use of only passported members. The Standing Committee, which currently operates with only two passported members, Ryu Hee-rim and Hwang Sung-wook, was responsible for the creation of the 22nd General Election Broadcasting Review Committee, a symbol of partisan, targeted, and monopolistic politics.

Chairman Ryu Hee-rim has privatized and unilaterally operated the Korea Communications Commission, a nine-member consensus-based independent body. A typical example is the establishment of the “Fake News Review Center” without consent, claiming to review internet media and fake news without any legal basis. It arbitrarily applied the general agenda proposal rules under the guise of expedited deliberations, and biasedly chose the organizations to recommend election broadcasting reviewers. The matter should have been discussed through the committee, but the chairman proceeded unilaterally, claiming it was his authority. The amendment of the ‘committee member muzzling’ rule is an official declaration of lawless dictatorship, shedding the veneer of a consensus-based organization.

If the rule revision is enforced, the ‘nine-member’ and ‘consensus body’ will become a thing of the past. Ryu Hee-rim’s regime has rapidly undermined the very basis of the KCSC’s existence as a civilian, independent review body. With less than two months left in her term, Ryu Hee-rim, the chief architect of the Yun Suk-yeol regime’s media control, continues to violate press freedom and broadcasting independence.

We are warning Chairman Ryu Hee-rim. Immediately withdraw your attempt to amend the “committee member muzzling” rule, which threatens the existence of the KCSC and undermines the purpose of the consensus system. Come clean about the bribery complaints and apologize to the public now. Resign before it’s too late and reveal the truth about your political agenda and media control. The Joint Action to Stop Media Hijacking will continue to fight for Ryu Hee-rim’s resignation in solidarity with citizens, 90 civil society organizations, and labor organizations nationwide. Even if he is fortunate enough to finish his term, we will continue to fight for his judicial and historical accountability.

Media Control Prevention Joint Action: 90 National Organizations

Stop Medical Privatization and Realize Free Healthcare Headquarters Wonju Women’s Friendship Association Incheon Women’s Association Free Press Action Foundation National Teachers’ Trade Union National Pastors’ Council for Justice and Peace National People’s Action National Emergency Committee National Press Workers’ Union National Women’s Solidarity Jeonnam Civil Society Organization Federation Jeonbuk Democratic Press Citizens’ Union Jeonbuk Civil Society Organization Federation Jeonju Sewolho Bunhyangso Jeju Women’s Friendship Association Jeju Participatory Environmental Solidarity Chosun Ilbo Closure Citizens’ Action Group Korean Free Press Defense Struggle Committee Good Public Hospitals Movement Headquarters Sovereign National Assembly National Parents’ Association for True Education Participatory Solidarity Cheonan 416 Solidarity Cheongju Labor Rights Center Cheongju YWCA Chuncheon Women’s Friendship Association Chungcheongju Women’s Telephone Chungbuk Education Development Center Chungbuk Democratic Press Citizens’ Union Chungbuk Civil Society Organization Federation Chungbuk Women’s Disability Association Chungbuk Participatory Autonomous Citizens’ Federation Peace Women’s Association Freedom of Expression and Press Repression Joint Task Force Korea Cyber Sexual Violence Response Center Korea Women’s Organization Federation Korea Women’s Friendship Association Korea Women’s Telephone Korea Progressive Solidarity Korea YMCA National Federation Environmental Movement Coalition Environmental Justice

Korean version text


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