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Thursday, July 23, 2009

Politicians Gone Wild

The National Assembly passed three bills to modernize South Korea's media industry, including allowing companies to own both broadcast and print properties. The voting, which took place Wednesday amid fistfights and shouting matches among lawmakers, capped months of acrimony over the measures.

The bills, which would privatize much of the media here, are understandably controversial. Most news outlets, both print and broadcast, are openly partisan and take a hard line on issues like trade and North Korea. Although private ownership of media is common elsewhere in the world, it's a new way of thinking here in Korea and many people are resistant to the change.

Me, I'm totally for it. While there are definitely imperfections with private ownership -- monopolies can create a huge problem of not knowing where your news is coming from and who is really behind the reporting -- it's a better system than state-run media, the current situation here.

The videos from the "debate" are especially hilarious. Punching, screaming, kicking, men vs. men, women vs. women, men vs. women. For a country that puts such a value on respect and Confucian ideals, this is incredible. It even puts the Brits to shame, and Americans are always amazed by how rowdy their sessions get.

Congress: take note. Even just the first few seconds of this video are amazing -- women clawing each other's necks and screaming. Politics at its finest.

(images from the Wall Street Journal and AP)


In other Korean political news, North Korea released a statement today calling U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton "by no means intelligent" and "a funny lady."

Hillary, your rebuttal?

(Team Hillary for Life, BTW)

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