KBS Chief Refuses to Quit Over Political Meddling

KBS president Gil Hwan-young on Monday refused to bow to growing pressure from journalists to resign. Gil has been facing calls to step down since former newsroom chief Kim Si-gon revealed that he improperly intervened in the broadcaster's news coverage.

"I am not clinging to my position, but think it's inappropriate to speak of [resignation] in this situation," Gil said in a meeting with the network's reporters. He also accused Kim of "exaggerating and distorting" the facts.

The former newsroom chief last Friday claimed that over the past year and five months at his post, he was pressured by Gil and Cheong Wa Dae on many occasions over what is being reported.

Kim was forced to resign earlier this month over his remark over the ferry disaster. He was reported to say at a staff meeting in early May that the number of victims in the ferry sinking is not that large compared to those killed in car accidents every year.

KBS union members try to block the car of network president Gil Hwan-young in front of its headquarters in Yeouido, Seoul on Monday. KBS union members try to block the car of network president Gil Hwan-young in front of its headquarters in Yeouido, Seoul on Monday.

Claiming he had little experience of news coverage due to his background as a TV producer, Gil said he merely queried the news director about coverage but denied attempting to influence how certain subjects were covered or what stories to report.

"I was surprised by his claims," he added.

KBS journalists responded by boycotting news reporting Monday. They said they will continue the boycott as long as Gil remains in the post. As a result, KBS' nightly news program ran for only 19 minutes, 30 minutes less than usual.

englishnews@chosun.com / May 20, 2014 11:45 KST