Cleaning up KBS

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Cleaning up KBS

The KBS board of directors nominated a new president yesterday and recommended him to President Lee Myung-bak.

After six months of ups and downs since Lee took office, the head of the national broadcaster is going to be replaced.

Before the new broadcasting president lies the serious task of completely reforming KBS.

What is most urgent is to upgrade the broadcaster’s status. KBS has been criticized for ideological bias.

Good examples of this are one-sided criticism over the impeachment of former President Roh Moo-hyun and the current government’s decision to reopen its market to American beef.

This is because the former KBS president, Jung Yun-joo, has acted like a trumpeter for the Roh Moo-hyun administration that appointed him.

The new president should not repeat the mistakes of his predecessor. KBS should be reborn as a public broadcaster that prioritizes public welfare and interest.

The owner of KBS is not the government, its management or employees, but the public who pay taxes and television fees.

The new president should present a vision for a true public television, specific plans to achieve that vision and how to proceed.

For that purpose, the new KBS president should put the brake on rampant interest groups within the company.

KBS employees who called themselves a group defending public television used violence under the pretext of stopping a “parachute appointment” and interrupted the KBS board’s selection process.

They have adopted a “not-in-my-backyard” attitude and seem to think public television is their possession.

This way of thinking needs to stop.

The new president is also responsible for solving the chronic financial losses at KBS.

While Jung Yun-joo was in office, KBS racked up 117.2 billion won ($108.76 million) in accumulated losses because lax management had become habitual at the company.

KBS should not waste public money. This is why restructuring is urgently needed at the broadcaster.

It is also why the new president needs to demonstrate strong leadership and prove that he cannot be swayed by interest groups within the organization, including unions.

We hope that KBS can be reborn as a trusted public television broadcaster, like the BBC in Britain or the NHK in Japan.
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