20 October 2004

"Speaking in a Condition of Drunkenness"

One of the best articles of the day from the Korean press is the Chosun Ilbo's take on the media-slamming comments by South Korean Prime Minister Lee Hai Chan.

Drunken Prime Minister Rips Conservative Daily Papers
Prime Minister Lee Hai-chan, speaking in a condition of drunkenness, criticized the Chosun Ilbo and Dong-A Ilbo in earthy language Monday, the last day of the Progressive Governance Summit, sparking controversy.

Despite attempts by his aides to restrain him, Lee poured out without reserve expressions like, "Chosun, Dong-A, don't plot against history," and "The Chosun and Dong-A are in the palm of my hand."
Read the rest HERE

Now, I have seen "speaking on condition of anonymity" and the like, but on condition of drunkenness???

That said, there is a bit of a serious note here. South Korean government has three major obstacles to overcome as it matures - The Military, The Unions, and The Conservative Media. The military has, for the most art, finally become subservient to the civilian leadership. The unions, while still a bit of trouble, are in and out of negotiations with the government and industry, and the massive and violent street demonstrations of years past are little more than the lingering smell of tear gas wafting on the springtime breeze.

But the media remains intransigent, and the current government has been on a crusade against the big three - Chosun Ilbo, Dong-A Ilbo and JoongAng Ilbo - since before it came to power. There are alternative media out there, like OhMyNews, but even they have their own biases. Newspaper readership is quite high in Korea (I have to hunt down the numbers), as is broadband internet access, and information flows. Even more than the battles between Fox News and CNN and the like in America, South Korean media is fighting for the ability to shape Korean society through information.

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