The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) joins
journalists and media workers at YTN in South Korea in welcoming
yesterday’s renewal of the broadcaster’s business licence.
Journalists’ Association of Korea (JAK), an IFJ affiliate, reports that the
Korea Communications Commission (KCC) confirmed the licence renewal yesterday.
licence includes a condition that YTN management submit a plan within one month
which outlines how the broadcaster will guarantee fair and objective reporting.
Delays in approving the licence, which was due for renewal in
December, had raised concerns among staff at YTN, and also the IFJ, about
efforts to link the network’s success and future to the right of staff to
organise protests in defence of press freedom and editorial independence.
leader of the YTN media workers’ union welcomed the decision, noting that the
added condition was not a shackle but considered by journalists to be
“The IFJ looks forward to seeing the YTN plan to guarantee
the broadcaster’s editorial independence and urges management to consult staff
in devising the strategy,” IFJ Asia-Pacific
Director Jacqueline Park said.
YTN staff have been protesting for seven months to seek
guarantees of editorial independence at the broadcaster, following last year’s
appointment of Gu Bon-Hong as YTN president. Gu previously worked as an aide to
President, Myung-Bak Lee, which raised concerns among YTN staff about potential
attempts by the Government to exercise undue political influence on the
The protests have resulted in management dismissing some
staff and initiating disciplinary action, complaints to police and court
injunctions. Six staff who were dismissed as a result of the dispute remain
without their jobs and the YTN union continues to fight for their
is hopeful that YTN management will agree to fresh talks with staff to seek a
positive resolution of the dispute, including the reinstatement of all
dismissed staff and an end to all retaliatory actions.
This week, the IFJ wrote to President Lee, and YTN’s management
to urge they enter into new talks with YTN staff to end the dispute, and
proposing an agenda for such talks. The IFJ’s action was taken after leaders of
23 national and international union bodies from throughout Asia-Pacific
endorsed a resolution at a regional IFJ meeting in Hong
Kong on February 12-13 to stand in solidarity with YTN staff,
their union representatives and JAK.
“The IFJ will continue to encourage the Government of South
Korea and YTN management to take steps to resolve the dispute through new talks,
including actions to reinstate sacked workers and end disciplinary actions
against staff who, in their protests, are acting in the interests of press
freedom and the Korean public,” Park said.
information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific on +612 9333 0919
The IFJ represents over 600,000 journalists in 120 countries worldwide