GNP unilaterally passes three media related bills

Posted on : 2009-07-23 11:45 KST Modified on : 2019-10-19 20:29 KST
DP and opposition parties prepare for a legal battle over the passage of the Broadcasting Law revision
 Cho Jeong-sik
Cho Jeong-sik

The ruling Grand National Party (GNP) forced through the Financial Holding Company Law and three media related bills, including revisions to the Broadcasting Law, the Newspaper Law and the IPTV Law on Wednesday. The media related bills passed as a result of a unilateral vote of the GNP some seven months after the bills were first submitted to the National Assembly, despite opposition by over 60 percent of the general public due to controversy over allowing South Korea’s three conservative dailies to gain a greater hold on public opinion by allowing them into the broadcast market.

While National Assembly guards and GNP lawmakers occupied the speaker’s chair in order to block Democratic Party (DP) and other opposition lawmakers from approaching the hall, Vice Speaker Lee Yoon-sung called for a vote on the four bills at 3:36 p.m. Wednesday. The opposition parties control 125 seats of the 294-member unicameral National Assembly.

When the first vote on the most contentious bill that revises the Broadcasting Law was virtually rejected as it fell one vote short of the parliamentary quorum of 146, Lee declared a failure to hold a voting majority and called for another ballot in which the bill passed. The bill revising the Newspaper Law passed with the approval of 152 of the 162 lawmakers in attendance, while the IPTV bill passed with the support of all 161 lawmakers who voted. Several lawmakers of the GNP’s Pro-Park Coalition participated in the voting.

The DP, Democratic Labor Party, Creative Korea Party and New Progressive Party, however, are citing procedural problems with the second vote on the Broadcasting Law and have raised suspicions that GNP lawmakers voted by proxy. The opposition parties are saying the laws passed Wednesday are null and void and have announced a legal response. Controversy surrounding the media related bills is expected to continue.

Creative Korea Party Spokesman Kim Seok-su also says the bill on the Broadcasting Law revision was rejected when the first vote failed to yield a quorum, and to pass it on a second vote violated the Assembly principle of not deliberating the same measure twice during the same parliamentary session, and so the law was null and void. Kim says his party will launch a struggle to nullify the Broadcasting Law allowing conglomerates and Chosun, JoongAng and Dong-A dailies into the broadcast market. Accordingly. Political gridlock over the legal validity of the laws revisions is expected.

The draft of the Broadcasting Law revision that passed Wednesday set a limit on the amount conglomerates and newspapers may invest in terrestrial broadcast at 10 percent, and cable channels that air news programs at 30 percent. It also restricts conglomerates and newspapers from exercising management rights until 2012, and bans newspaper companies with readerships of over 20 percent from entering broadcast markets, which in effect still qualifies South Korea’s three largest conservative newspapers to enter the broadcast market.

Please direct questions or comments to []

Most viewed articles