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In revote, National Assembly strikes down controversial media bills

Dec. 8, 2023 - 18:20 By Kim Arin
South Korea’s National Assembly on Friday voted to strike down controversial media bills vetoed by President Yoon Suk Yeol. (Yonhap)

South Korea’s National Assembly on Friday voted to discard a set of bills aimed at giving the state broadcasting regulator more power in choosing heads of public broadcasters.

The bills were vetoed by President Yoon Suk Yeol and sent back to the Assembly for a revote. They were initially proposed by the main opposition Democratic Party of Korea, which controls the parliamentary majority.

The ruling People Power Party protested the bills as having the potential to increase government influence over public broadcasters, which are routinely accused by both major parties of having a bias.

The bills would give the Korea Communications Commission, which oversees the licensing and regulation of broadcasting services, the power to form committees to select candidates for presidents of public broadcasters.

As the head of the KCC is appointed by the president, the ruling party claimed that there may be a possibility for more bias setting in if the broadcasting regulator were to hold more power in deciding whom to put in charge of public broadcasters.

According to the Constitution, for a bill vetoed by the president to be reconsidered by the Assembly, at least two-thirds of lawmakers must give consent. Currently, the Democratic Party holds 56 percent of the Assembly’s 298 seats.