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Illogical Democrats

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May 14,2009
In February, when the legislative process at the National Assembly was in turmoil, the ruling and opposition parties agreed on how to handle a bundle of bills covering media law. They would set up a forum for discussion, listen to public opinion over 100 days and put it to a vote in June at the Assembly.

In accordance with the agreement, a people’s committee for the development of the media was formed with outside experts. The committee falls under the National Assembly’s Culture, Sports, Tourism, Media and Communications Committee. Discussions have already been held.

But the Democratic Party has now declared that it might block the vote at the National Assembly in June. The opposition party says if a vote is held for the media bills that the administration and the ruling party submitted to the National Assembly, it will not participate in any voting.

If the Democratic Party carries out its threat, there would likely be more clashes at the National Assembly, just like late last year and early this year.

The key to the media legislation proposed by the administration and the ruling party is to tear down barriers within the media industry by allowing newspapers and conglomerates to enter the broadcasting industry. The aim, according to proponents, is to nurture the media industry.

The Democratic Party’s opposition is based on the claim that the Lee Myung-bak administration is attempting to control the media using the conservatives’ capital.

The Democratic Party maintains that the process of listening to public opinion is a precondition to a vote, and a survey must be conducted to gauge the mood of the nation.

If legislators conduct a survey, however, it would be tantamount to denying the National Assembly the exercise of its functions of discussion and legislation. In a democratic country, the people express their opinions through elections and the lawmakers they elect reflect public opinion through legislation.

The standing committee’s deliberations over bills is central to that process. If the system that had been established by the Constitution is to be ignored and a bill is to be drawn based on opinion polls, what is the use of the National Assembly?

If the Democratic Party’s logic is right, even the president and legislators must be elected through opinion polls. If the Democrats hold on to this logic, they’d better work as civic movement activists, instead of working for a Constitutional institution.

As for an organization for discussions, we pointed out earlier that it meant the National Assembly giving up its authority and power. We also predicted that this vague expression of “listening to public opinion” would be controversial. Our worries are a reality right now since the organization for discussion is an advisory body - nothing more.

The Democrats have once again revealed their addiction to populist tactics.


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