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SBS chairman's resignation raises questions

By Park Jin-hai

SBS Chairman <br />Yoon Se-young
SBS Chairman
Yoon Se-young
Yoon Se-young, founder and chairman of SBS TV, has offered to step down, raising questions over the motive behind his sudden resignation. He has been accused of having given pro-government directions to employees under the previous Lee Myung-bak and Park Gyun-hye administrations.

The largest shareholder of the main broadcaster, Yoon said Monday that he will step down as chairman of both SBS Media Group and SBS Media Holdings to "completely separate ownership and management."

In a speech from in-house broadcasting, he also said his son Suk-mynn, will also resign from all posts at the media company and its subsidiaries, but keeping the non-executive directorship at SBS Media Holdings.

"With mobile and new media flowering, major broadcasting companies' hands were tied under various regulations, lagging behind in the harsh media competition. I couldn't look away from the reality and in order to cope with these difficulties, I couldn't help but cater to the government to some degree," Yoon said.

He apologized for "making a dent on fair reporting" but claimed that he never crossed the line.

The company's labor union and workers have claimed that the chairman ordered the network not to report unfavorably about the two former conservative governments. They demanded his resignation.

In an emergency meeting the labor union held last Wednesday union members demanded a complete separation between ownership and management and full autonomy in news coverage.

But, the labor union says it is only a stop-gap measure. "His resignation is no more than a repeat of his rhetoric that the ownership and management should be separated. He talked up the separation whenever he needed to in 2005, 2008 and 2011," said a union member.

Yoon stepped down from the two posts in 2011, but was reinstated last year.

The union said his resignation is a mere tactic to extend the broadcasting license from the government which will review whether to renew the license at the end of the year.


Park Jin-hai jinhai@koreatimes.co.kr


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