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Court issues warrant to detain MBC president for labor probe

A Seoul court issued a warrant to detain the chief of public broadcaster MBC for a week for an investigation into alleged unfair labor practices, prosecutors said Friday.

Kim Jang-kyom, the company‘s embattled CEO and president, has refused several times to answer the summons by the Seoul regional office of the Ministry of Employment and Labor for questioning, the Seoul Western District Prosecutors’ Office said.

“This is an issue that the ministry has been investigating now.

Thus, it will determine when and how to execute the warrant,” a prosecution official said, declining to be named.

Kim Jang-kyom, the CEO and president of MBC (Yonhap)
Kim Jang-kyom, the CEO and president of MBC (Yonhap)

Since late June, the labor authorities have carried out a special inquiry into the allegations surrounding the MBC management upon a request from its labor union. The ministry noted the need for the inspection, pointing to the long-running labor dispute at the broadcaster.

Last month, Labor Minister Kim Young-joo decried a set of MBC cases in which some producers and reporters were assigned to other jobs outside the news production sphere.

On Tuesday, unionized workers of the broadcaster voted to go on strike Monday demanding the president‘s resignation over his alleged political meddling in news production. Some 400 reporters, TV producers, video journalists and announcers have been boycotting news production, demanding he step down.

Kim has come under fire for using his influence to produce newscasts favorable to the former Park Geun-hye administration.

The Moon Jae-in administration, along with the ruling Democratic Party, has stressed the importance of public broadcasters’ objectivity and reliability. But the opposition parties have slammed it, arguing it is seeking to hold sway over the media. (Yonhap)