Media Matters in South Korea

No, members of South Korea’s parliament were not “mad because they can’t read the words on anything” (as Fox News’s Shep Smith explained just now over footage of South Korean lawmakers shoving one another in front of banners bearing Korean characters), here’s why they’re “mad” (and, below that, some of that fisticuffs footage Smith tried to narrate):

Hundreds of competing lawmakers screamed and wrestled in South Korea’s parliament Wednesday as a rivalry over contentious media reform bills descended into a brawl that sent at least one to a hospital.

Lawmakers from the ruling Grand National Party occupied the speaker’s podium in a bid to quickly pass the bills aimed at easing restrictions on ownership of television networks…

The opposition strongly opposes the proposed media reforms that would ease restrictions on large businesses and newspapers owning stakes in major broadcasting stations. They claim the move is a ploy by the government of President Lee Myung-bak to get more sympathetic media coverage by allowing large conservative newspapers to get into the broadcasting business.

And more interesting background from the Wall Street Journal.

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Liz Cox Barrett is a writer at CJR.