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Court temporarily halts 6-month suspension of cable channel MBN

This file photo from Nov. 27, 2020, shows a flag with the logo of local cable channel MBN. (Yonhap)
This file photo from Nov. 27, 2020, shows a flag with the logo of local cable channel MBN. (Yonhap)
A Seoul court has granted an injunction to temporarily lift the suspension order given to MBN, a local cable TV channel last year over accounting fraud, judicial sources said Wednesday.

According to the sources, the Seoul Administrative Court has recently ruled in favor of MBN, halting a six-month suspension order issued by the country's telecommunications regulator.

In October, the Korea Communications Commission (KCC) ordered the broadcaster to suspend its service after concluding that MBN manipulated its balance sheet in 2011 to conceal a portion of capital raised under the borrowed names of its employees, thereby violating the Broadcasting Act.

MBN's move was part of its plans to raise 300 billion won ($270 million), the minimum requirement to acquire a license to operate a general programming cable TV network, according to KCC.

The network was also accused of submitting falsified documents for its license's reapproval in 2014 and 2017.

In January, MBN filed a lawsuit and sought an injunction against the suspension order, saying the penalty was too heavy and it had already corrected its problematic practices.

The channel was supposed to shut down its service in May for six months, as a six-month grace period given by KCC to minimize damage ends.

The injunction will remain in effect until 30 days after a first court ruling comes out.

"The suspension order could inflict irreversible damage to MBN and (the court) recognized an urgent need to grant a stay of execution to prevent such damage," the court said, explaining the ruling.

The court also said the documents provided by the KCC were not enough to prove that temporarily lifting the order could work against the public interest. (Yonhap)