Staff Consultation Urged as South Korea Renews YTN Licence

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

South Korea’s

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.


For further

information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific on +612 9333 0919


The IFJ represents over 600,000 journalists in 120 countries worldwide