The Korea Herald

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TBS appeals to Seoul to hold off on slashing support

By Lee Jung-joo

Published : Nov. 27, 2023 - 20:44

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(Traffic Broadcasting Station) (Traffic Broadcasting Station)

Public broadcaster Traffic Broadcasting System, or TBS, appealed to the Seoul Metropolitan Government and Seoul Metropolitan Council to postpone their plan to eliminate their financial support for the radio station through an official statement on Monday.

“We are facing the crisis of being forced to close down completely following the city council passing the ordinance that abolished support for TBS from the Seoul Metropolitan Government, currently effective starting next year,” said TBS’ official statement.

Previously, the city council had taken issue with some of TBS' programs, particularly its top-ranked "Kim Eo-jun's News Factory," claiming that they were politically biased.

“After the ordinance was passed, we made a number of efforts to reorganize ourselves into a fair, informative and trustworthy broadcaster, but we still do not have a clear plan for the future.”

TBS also added that it plans formally to privatize itself since it will no longer be supported by the Seoul Metropolitan Government, but that it needed more time to do so.

“We request for a temporary postponement of implementing the ordinance as we need a minimum amount of time to prepare for the privatization and to reorganize,” said the broadcaster.

Meanwhile, the Seoul Metropolitan Council passed an ordinance enabling the Seoul Metropolitan Government to slash its financial support from 2024 on Nov. 14, 2022, led by the council members of the ruling People Power Party, which holds the majority of 76 seats out of the 112 seats.

As the station has relied on the Seoul Metropolitan Government’s support for 70 percent of its annual budget, concerns have been addressed that the cut is a threat to TBS’ existence. In 2022, 32 billion won ($24.5 million) of TBS’ total budget of 46.5 billion won was covered by the city government.