January 7, 2009

Media workers halt strike in South Korea

A media workers' union in South Korea halted its strike Wednesday while the passage of a law allowing new firms to own television networks was put on hold.

Members of the National Union of Media Workers, including well-known news anchors, have boycotted work since late December, Yonhap reported Wednesday.

Workers objected to President Lee Myung-bak's media reform bill, which would allow large companies, including newspapers, to buy television networks.

The union also threatened to strike again if the government pushed for the measure it its present form.

We temporarily suspend our strike as rival parties agreed to delay passing the media laws until after red-discussion, the union said in a statement.

Lee, a proponent of open markets, had proposed allowing firms to own both newspapers and broadcast news outlets, prohibited by current law.

Several newspapers are interested in buying television news services, but broadcasters are worried the government is attempting to exert more control on newsrooms, Yonhap reported.