Reports of intimidation and editorial interference in public broadcaster
(IFJ/IFEX) - February 9, 2012 - The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) joins UNI Global Union, and the unions of broadcasters MBCTV, KBSTV and YTN, in expressing its grave concern over reports of intimidation of union members and interference in reporting and editing of the South Korean public broadcaster MBCTV.
On January 25, 170 MBCTV news reporters and cameramen staged a 'walk out' demonstration in the lobby of MBC TV, in response to alleged interference in the broadcaster's editorial independence and the intimidation of union members.
Since then, MBCTV union members have held daily rallies and picketed in the streets to seek public support for their struggle. Members have reported incidents of intimidation, directed at those taking part in the demonstrations.
Employees at the public broadcaster, and their unions, are concerned by government controls on state media and their diminished independence due to strong ties between high-ranking government officers and media company managements.
The MBCTV union previously took strike action to protect freedom of speech at MBCTV in 2010, after which many union members, including the union president, were dismissed.
"Press freedom cannot be achieved in an environment where journalists are unable to freely associate and advocate for their rights," IFJ Asia-Pacific Director Jacqueline Park said.
"The IFJ calls on MBCTV's management to investigate all claims of intimidation of union members, and take action to ensure that all employees are able to enjoy their right to unionise and take industrial action without fear of reprisal.
The IFJ also calls on MBCTV's management to guarantee editorial independence and press freedom at the broadcaster".
What other IFEX members are saying
International Federation of Journalists