The network will resume the broadcast of most entertainment shows, including Radio Star and I Live Alone from Wednesday. Popular variety show Infinite Challenge and music programme Show! Music Core will resume next weekend, initially using footage filmed before the strike.
MBC news and current affairs programmes will, however, continue to face disruption, as employees await the appointment of a new president for the broadcaster, news agency Yonhap reported.
Outgoing MBC president Kim Jang-kyom stands accused of overseeing ‘political bias’ in Korea’s second largest public broadcaster’s current affairs coverage, in favour of the former Conservative Government, headed by president Park Geun-hye.
The Foundation for Broadcast Culture (FBC), which holds a 70% stake in MBC, voted in favour of a motion to dismiss Kim on Monday (13 November). Five of six FBC board members voted for the motion and one abstained, during the extraordinary board meeting in Seoul.
The five who voted in favour of dismissal are affiliated with the ruling Democratic Party. Three FBC board members affiliated with opposition parties were absent from the meeting, according Yonhap.
FBC is a non-profit organisation whose directors are appointed by the Korea Communications Commission (KCC). The president of South Korea appoints the president of the KCC. Following the FCB decision, Kim said he “bitterly realised that the Government’s control of public broadcasters is really persistent”. He also apologised “for failing to keep MBC’s independence from those in power”.
Accusations of political bias are rife in the country’s public broadcasting sector, which also saw a mass strike in 2012.
Workers from South Korea’s other public broadcaster KBS remain on strike, with their union calling for the dismissal of its head Ko Dae-young, restoration of public concern in the media, and justice for journalists who have been unfairly dismissed, transferred, suppressed, or given disciplinary measures.
Although the call for resignations of the broadcasters’ presidents by unionists are commonplace, Choi Jin-bong, a professor at Sungkonghoe University, believes: “Only by setting up proper measures to have a politically impartial figure to take the role of a CEO can we put a stop to the overhaul of public broadcasting companies every time a new government kicks in”.
Under South Korea’s constitution, the country’s president can select a president for KBS after a recommendation by its board of directors, which in turn are individually recommended by the country’s political parties. The president and his or her ruling party are, however, able to appoint six out of nine members of the KBS board of directors.