Concert director and producer Tak Hyun-min said Monday that he and 12 others will not appear on MBC shows.
The statement came after the broadcaster banned a planned regular appearance on a radio program by actress Kim Yoh-jin, who has adamantly expressed opinions on socially sensitive issues, by blacklisting her.
“The blacklist is designed to censor people’s opinions. MBC officials said they devised the rule to maintain political neutrality, but actually it aims to oust people they don’t like,” Tak said.
The lecturer at Sungkonghoe and Hanyang universities presented a “three-steps, one ‘f-word gesture’” performance, parodying the Buddhist “three-steps, one-kowtow” practice, in front of the MBC building in central Seoul.
He announced a list of celebrities who joined his move, including popular novelist Gong Ji-young, Seoul National University professor Cho Kuk, gay film director Kim Jho Gwang-soo, culture critic Kim Gyu-hang and film director Yeo Gyun-dong.
“If more people join me, I’ll announce their names every Monday through Twitter,” Tak said.
One of the celebrities, Semyung University professor Jae Jeong-im who has appeared on a radio show for nearly four years, said a day earlier via Twitter that she will not work in protest against the list.
“It infringes on the freedom of speech and freedom of expression, guaranteed by the Constitution. It bans people from saying what they believe, whether they are conservative or progressive,” she said.
MBC recently announced the blacklist of people who have openly supported or opposed specific figures or organizations concerning socially sensitive issues, and they cannot appear on its shows.
The move comes just days before actress Kim was to appear as a panelist on a current affairs radio show twice a month.
Kim tweeted “I’m not that scary a person” in response to MBC’s decision.
Legal action planned
Regarding the list, a group of junior radio program directors of MBC said in a statement Friday, “Senseless censorship and political pressure continues to be applied. It is a result of the involvement of executives including President Kim Jae-chul.”
The MBC union also said it will take legal action against management, saying the guideline defines anchors and reporters as “regular performers” and is feared to infringe on the freedom of expression.
Progressive culture critic Chin Jung-kwon said on his Twitter that he doesn’t understand the list, which he claims allows the appearance of a lawyer openly making political remarks and bans that of an entertainer making remarks in the public interest.
He mentioned conservative lawyer Jun Won-chack, who regularly appears on the radio program in question. “Jun was spokesman of the Liberty Forward Party. Why are people like Jun, who are deeply involved in politics, allowed to appear without question?”