중앙데일리

GNP declares truce with TV

Sept 06,2002
The Grand National Party officially apologized Thursday to broadcasting companies for a letter it sent them earlier demanding retractions and changes in their reporting. The letters criticized broadcast media stories about the alleged draft evasion of the sons of the party's presidential candidate, Lee Hoi-chang.

Representative Hyun Kyung-dae, the head of the party's communications committee, apologized for the "poorly written letter that invited misunderstanding." The party's chairman, Suh Chung-won, said the GNP would strengthen its oversight of the committee's correspondence in the future.

The original letter was sent to the four broadcasters on Aug. 27. It complained that media reports were branding Lee Hoi-chang's wife and son as criminals. The committee demanded that television announcers and reporters stop using repeatedly the phrase "GNP presidential candidate Lee Hoi-chang's son" in reports of the issue because, the letter said, the candidate's image was being hurt.

Political observers said that GNP's apology and its pledge that such an incident would never recur should put an end to the hostilities. The GNP had originally vowed to deal strongly with the broadcasting companies for reporting they claimed was one-sided. On Saturday, GNP lawmakers considered whether to refuse interviews to Munhwa Broadcasting Corporation reporters, closing the reporters' quarters in the party building and other steps. But as tempers cooled, they decided to ask for a cease-fire.

"The letter could remind people of the military dictatorship's censorship of the press," said a senior party official. He added that turning the media into enemies when the presidential election was only three months off would only hurt the party. They decided to call off the hostilities before the man in question, Lee Hoi-chang, returns from his China trip.

GNP officials said the letter in question was not endorsed by party leaders. They said they would overhaul the related party regulations and censure the person responsible for sending it. The committee members said in their defense that special committee activities did not normally require the approval of the party chairman and president.

by Nam Jeong-ho




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