(EDITORIAL from Korea JoongAng Daily on Nov. 10)

The Democratic Party (DP) on Thursday passed three motions to dismiss Lee Dong-kwan, chairman of the Korea Communications Commission (KCC); Lee Jung-seop, deputy chief prosecutor at the Suwon District Prosecutors’ Office; and Son Jun-seong, another deputy chief prosecutor at the Daegu High Prosecutors’ Office. The majority party holding 169 seats in the 300-member National Assembly also unilaterally passed controversial revisions to the Labor Act and the Broadcast Act.

The developments testify to the DP’s politically-engineered legislation and impeachment. The revision to the Labor Act — aimed at extending the scope of labor disputes and restricting employers’ rights to damage claims against illegal strikes — already prompted concerns about a possible serious effect on the labor-management relations. The revision to the Broadcast Act was also under criticism for the DP’s obvious scheme to give pro-DP media unions the right to choose heads of public broadcasters. The DP pressed such contentious revisions just like military operations.

The rush to impeach whomever the DP does not like also sounds alarms. First, we wonder if KCC Chair Lee has really made a mistake serious enough to impeach him over the past three months. The DP based the impeachment on Lee’s dismissal of Kwon Tae-seon, board chair of the Foundation for Broadcast Culture. But the dismissal decision was made before Lee took office. If lawmakers want to impeach ministerial-level officials, they must present concrete evidence of a serious violation of the Constitution or relevant laws. But they didn’t. The DP must have impeached Lee because he demanded thorough reforms from pro-DP public broadcasters.

Lee’s impeachment will have far-reaching repercussions. The KCC will be in a vegetative state due to a lack of quorum for making any decisions, including approvals of broadcasting businesses. We cannot dispel the doubt that the DP wants to maintain a broadcast environment that is friendly to the liberal party until the next parliamentary election in April.

The impeachment motions against the two top prosecutors is also hard to understand. The DP said it tried to impeach Lee for registering his address falsely and violating the Anti-Solicitation and Graft Act. But the party must have impeached him because he is investigating into the case of a private company remitting $8 million to North Korea on Lee’s behalf in return for favors. The DP’s impeachment motion of the other senior prosecutor is no different.

The KCC has been running with only two committee members — Chair Lee and the vice chairman — out of the required five. In a strange development, a court also ruled for the suspension of the KCC’s decision to force out a pro-DP executive member of MBC. The PPP and the DP must normalize the operation of the commission fast by recommending neutral candidates for the three vacant seats.

Source: Yonhap News Agency