Sunday, January 29, 2012

MBC labor union votes for strike

People are fighting for normal conditions of work, yet fangirls biggest concern is that they won't see cute couples on We Got Married show.

MBC labor union votes for strike to force MBC president Kim Jae Chul’s resignation

Less than a year after going on a strike but failing to obtain the resignation of MBC president Kim Jae Chul, the MBC labor union has decided to go on strike once again for the same purpose.
MBC labor union members participated in voting from January 25th – 27th , aimed to decide whether to go on strike to force the resignation of MBC president Kim Jae Chul.
Of the 1,010 labor union members, 783 members casted their votes, 69.4% were for a strike while the remaining members were either against it or abstained.
The labor union felt that despite airing their grievances over Kim Jae Chul being a puppet of the Lee Myung Bak administration and interfering with the neutrality of the station in their strike last April, nothing has changed. The labor union also asserts that there has been a massive clampdown on freedom of the press, with news reports mostly on pro-government policies. Thus, they have decided to go on strike again to get Kim to step down and return MBC to a neutrality state.
The strike also stemmed from a show of no confidence in MBC’s newsroom chiefs with MBC journalists criticizing biased and substandard news reporting and calling for their resignations. For example, when a scandal broke on President Lee Myung Bak’s retirement residence last November, the top story of MBC’s 9PM news program was the surging popularity of K-pop stars.

The strike will begin at 6AM local time on January 30th. A representative from the MBC’s labor union stated, “We should always present an honest and accurate broadcasting to viewers, since we serve viewers with neutrality, as the nation’s public broadcaster.
So how does this affect you? For a start, some variety shows, dramas and news programs will bear the full brunt of this shutdown.
Variety shows and dramas that are outsourced to 3rd party production companies, will not be affected in any way by the strike and are likely to be aired as scheduled.
An example would be currently airing MBC dramas, “The Moon That Embraces The Sun” and “Lights and Shadows“.  This will come as a huge relief to viewers of these programs.
But for variety programs like “We Got Married“, “Infinity Challenge“, “I Am A Singer“, etc, which are largely produced by in-house MBC staff, they will be affected if there is a prolonged strike.
MBC has meanwhile reacted strongly with a statement, “This is an illegal strike and we will not hesitate to press charges based on company rules if it goes ahead.”

Source: Nate (1, 2), AKP

From KoreaTimes:

In a rare coincidence, journalists at the nation’s two major public broadcasters are taking collective actions against their respective management. The KBS and MBC reporters’ simultaneous no-confidence votes in their newsroom chiefs ― or their company presidents ― were unheard of even during dictatorial days. It shows how far the nation’s press freedom has regressed under the Lee Myung-bak administration.

How have these broadcast journalists come to take such extreme steps? In short, the unfair and lopsided reporting at the behest of top managers, both President Lee’s former media aides, has reached unbearable levels. Reporters at MBC, whose viewing ratings for news programs have plummeted, will start a virtual strike today calling for their president to step down.

For the viewers of the two public ― or state ― broadcasters, the reporters’ actions are more than understandable. The two network stations vied to cover up or downplay the government’s mistakes or irregularities, while refusing to cover its political opponents ignoring people’s right to know.

When the scandal broke on President Lee’s retirement residence in November, for instance, the top story of MBC’s 9 p.m. news program was the surging popularity of K-pop stars.

As if turning these public broadcasters into semi-official agencies was not enough, the Lee administration has given rise to four more pro-government, conservative channels to ``diversify” public opinion markets showing an egregious irony, as such a move would no doubt lead to the oligopoly of electronic media.

The so-called general service channels, which are technically cable stations but practically terrestrial broadcasters both in function and the benefits they enjoy, boast a ``1-percent” viewing rate, but demand corporate advertisers to pay up to 70 percent of what the existing networks charge. So dismal are their audiences that one of the new channels failed to broadcast for nearly an hour, but it went virtually unnoticed, as few tuned in.

According to a recent survey, about 90 percent of journalists in active duty gave a negative rating to the Lee administration’s media policy. This is small surprise, considering how Seoul is running counter to global trends of reregulation, diversification and separation of print and electronic media. It’s natural global agencies have kept downgrading the nation’s press freedom.

The government must put public interest back ahead of market principle and political motivation in this year of important elections. Otherwise, the media-democratizing fire reignited at public broadcasters will spread and lash back at the governing camp.