MBC cancels prime time shows after union strike

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MBC cancels prime time shows after union strike

A union strike has led to the cancellation of hit variety shows on the MBC network.

The media company announced yesterday that following a protest on Monday by some 500 workers, flagship programs due to air over the weekend of Feb. 4 and 5, including “We Got Married,” “Infinite Challenge,” “The Great Birth” and “Survival: I Am a Singer,” will not air. Instead, re-runs of special programs will be broadcast. However, programs that are outsourced to external production companies will be aired as scheduled.

The MBC labor union, which organized the strike, is calling for the resignation of the network’s current president, Kim Jae-chul.

“We are calling for an end to the distorted news coverage that is currently taking place at MBC under Kim Jae-chul’s leadership,” a union representative said. “We won’t stop until justice and impartiality is restored to our programs. Until then, we ask viewers to support us in our endeavor.”

There was also a protest when Kim was nominated for the network presidency back in May 2010. Kim is thought by the union to be a puppet of President Lee Myung-bak, which they say has resulted in biased news reports.

“We have a duty to serve the public by maintaining neutrality in our news programs,” said the union representative.

Through the protest, it is hoped that Kim will step down from the leadership position.

Meanwhile in Seoul, a photo exhibition of the MBC show “Infinite Challenge” has attracted some 243,000 visitors to Lotte Mall at Gimpo International Airport since it was unveiled on Dec. 22. The exhibition ended on Jan. 15 and MBC said that it had not expected such a large number of visitors.

By Carla Sunwoo [carlasunwoo@joongang.co.kr]
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