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This meeting of participants of the IFJ’s Challenge of Public Broadcasting in Asia conference, representing 13 countries from the Asia-Pacific region and members of the IFJ’s global Public Broadcasting Campaign Committee, meeting in Colombo from 1-3 December 2003:
EXPRESSES grave concerns about proposals by the Korean opposition, the Grand National Party (GNP), to amend the Korean Broadcasting Law to separate television licence fees from electricity billing.
NOTES that this would drastically cut the collection of fees, and undermine the funding of the leading public service broadcaster, KBS, forcing it to turn to advertising to make up the shortfall. This threatens the very existence of public service broadcasting in Korea.
RECOGNISES that stable finance is an important element for KBS to perform its public responsibilities without any constraints from politics. Korean listeners and viewers are entitled to public service broadcasting free from excessive commercialism.
BELIEVES that the attempt to revise the existing law is an act of irresponsibility by a public party, which should not be tolerated. Broadcast policy should be pursued not from partisan interests, but from public interests.
DEMANDS that the GNP withdraw the revision bill and cease intimidating KBS immediately.
SUPPORTS in solidarity the union workers of KBS and the National Union of Media Workers in their current struggle against this political recklessness.
2 December 2003