Related News

Home » World

Fights break out as S. Korean parliament passes media bills

HUNDREDS of competing politicians screamed and wrestled in South Korea's parliament yesterday as rivalry over contentious media reform bills descended into a brawl that sent at least one to a hospital.

Politicians from the ruling Grand National Party occupied the speaker's podium in a bid to quickly pass the bills aimed at easing restrictions on ownership of television networks. Opposition parties responded by stacking up furniture to block ruling party members from entering the main hall of the National Assembly.

The parliament plunged into chaos as lawmakers scuffled and shouted abuse at each other. Women members of the rival parties joined in the melee, grabbing each other by the neck and trying to bring opponents to the floor.

YTN television network reported some were injured. One woman lawmaker was seen lying on a blue mattress with nurses checking her blood pressure. She was later taken to hospital, YTN said.

The scenes were not unusual in South Korea's confrontational and melodramatic politics, where rival parties sometimes resort to violence to get their way.

Last year, opposition politicians used sledgehammers to pound their way into a parliamentary committee room to block the ruling party from introducing a bill to ratify a free trade pact with the United States.

The opposition strongly opposed the proposed media reforms that would ease restrictions on large businesses and newspapers owning stakes in major broadcasting stations. They claim the move was a ploy by the government of President Lee Myung-bak to get more sympathetic media coverage by allowing large conservative newspapers to get into broadcasting.

Despite the attempt to blockade the National Assembly, ruling party legislators managed to get into the hall and rammed through the bills amid angry shouts from their opponents.

As the vice parliamentary speaker announced the passage of one bill, security guards rushed to cover him for fears that opposition lawmakers might throw something, which has happened in the past.


Copyright © 1999- Shanghai Daily. All rights reserved.Preferably viewed with Internet Explorer 8 or newer browsers.

沪公网安备 31010602000204号

Email this to your friend