South Korean Govt cuts funding to media outlet accused of ‘political bias’

The South Korean Government, under President Yoon Sok Yul,  has introduced a bill to defund media outlet TBS. \

The Seoul based broadcaster receives 70% of its funding from Seoul Metropolitan Government which passed a motion to abolish “the ordinance on the establishment and operation of the media foundation tbs at the plenary session” last Tuesday. 

TBS had received accusations of ‘bias’ against President Yoon’s conservative PPP (People Power Party).

The PPP who controls the majority of seats on Seoul City Council said that TBS will be free to work “independently” when funding is cut in 2024 and that the move was needed in order to “meet various demands of Seoul citizens in the broadcasting sector”

The Guardian reported, “TBS’s star radio personality, Kim Ou-joon, has been openly critical of the conservative ruling party and government.”

Kim has been criticised for allowing guests a platform to “attack the PPP and for reporting on conspiracy theories.” 

South Korea’s Joongang Daily reported that the outlet had been “caught in controversy due to the host’s support of the liberal Democratic Party (DP).”

The Korea Herald reported,  “​​Doubts over the radio station’s funding began when the conservative People Power Party gained control of the 112-member Seoul Metropolitan Council in the June elections.” 

 It said the issue has been taken in particular with the show “News Factory,” where Kim used his platform to ‘urge voters to support the Democratic Party’. 

“The Korean Communications Standards Commission has penalized “News Factory” for violating objectivity standards half a dozen times since 2018.”

It says that Kim had “also breached broadcasting rules during the presidential election by urging voters to support then-ruling party candidate Lee Jae-myung on a private podcast.”

Critics of the move have described it as an “attract on press freedom” and have expressed intentions to pursue the matter through legal channels. 

TBS had been receiving around 23 million euro in state funding annually. 

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